Paragraph on Maqbool Fida Husain (M.F. Husain )

Paragraph on Maqbool Fida Husain (M.F. Husain )

Maqbool Fida Husain is perhaps are one of the finest and most famous painters of India.


Born at Pandharpur in Maharashtra, he did his schooling in Indore His artistic aspirations led him to the J.J. School of Art in Bombay (now, Mumbai). As a young artist, he had to struggle to get recognition.

At first he painted cinema hoardings but came to the limelight in the 1940s, joining the Progressive Artists Group led by F.N. Souza. After his international debut in 1952 with a solo exhibition at Zurich, Switzerland, he earned worldwide reputation. The flamboyant artist, called the ‘Picasso of India’, put Indian art on the world map. His paintings express the essence of Indian culture and are symbolic and abstract in nature.

Husain’s art was associated with Indian modernism in the 1940s. He is famous for his narrative paintings, executed in a modified Cubist style, that were serious and caustic as well as funny.

His themes, usually treated in series, had diverse themes: eminent personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa; the Indian epics; the British era and motifs of rural and urban life. He was influenced by European modernists like Cezanne and Matisse in his depiction of particular scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and the Hindu pantheon.


Some of his famous paintings include a series on the Indian epics and a series of 49 water colours, ‘Passage through Human Space’ (completed in 1975). He is famous for his horses on canvas that have a startling real-life-like resemblance; the painting ‘Bharat Mata’; and ‘Ritual’, that draws from the vibrancy of folk art.

Some of his paintings became controversial over the last years of his life. Some Hindu groups described them as obscene and issued death threats against him. He was forced to shift base. He was offered the citizenship of Qatar and he accepted it in 2010, dividing his time between homes in Qatar and London.

Husain’s creative spirit led him to experiment with cinema. His first film Through the Eyes of a Painter was made in 1967 and it won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

He made two Hindi films:

Gaja Gamini with Madhuri Dixit whom he described as his muse; and Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities. He was awarded the Padma Shri (1955), the Padma Bhushan (1973) and the Padma Vibhushan (1991).

M.F. Husain died in 2011, at the age of 96.

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