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Home >> Artists >> M.F.Hussain


M.F.Hussain is undoubtedly one of the most famous of contemporary Indian artists. His enigmatic painting style, vibrant colors and of course his extra-ordinary multi-faceted personality has attracted much attention of both art lovers and media. It is interesting to know about the life and works of this celebrated Indian artist. M.F. Hussain or Maqbool Fida Husain was born on September 17, 1915 in Pandharpur, Maharashtra. He lost his mother, Zunaib, when he was merely a child. His father Fida, remarried and moved to Indore, where Husain went to school. He moved to Mumbai at age 20 and there he was admitted to the J. J. School of Arts. Hussain married in the year 1941.

Hussain had actually started his painting career in quite an unromantic way. During his early days in Mumbai he earned money painting cinema hoarding--- one of the often-told stories about his early days. He earned a meager amount of money after painting for hours and the moment he managed to save up something he would rush off to Baroda or Ahmedabad for landscape painting. Hussain has motley of career patches that were there as resorts to some good money. He is even known to have worked in a toy factory where he designed and made fretwork toys.

M.F.Hussain's work came into public notice in the year 1947 when his painting Sunhera Sansar was exhibited in the annual exhibition of the Bombay Art Society. This was Hussain's first art exhibition. After the Partition later that year, Husain decided to stay in India. Soon the Progressive Artists' Group was formed. Through it, Hussain was exposed to, and strongly influenced by, the work of Emil Nolde and Oskar Kokoschka. From 1948 to 1950 a series of exhibitions all over India brought Husain's work to the notice of the public and he became famous as an artist of modern India.

It was in 1951 that Hussain traveled to China for the first time and the following year he had his first solo exhibition in Zurich. The next few years were vital in Hussain's painting career. His paintings were widely exhibited all over the world, especially in Europe and USA, making him a name to reckon with contemporary painting. In 1966 Husain was awarded the Padmashree by the Government of India. In the following year he made his first film, Through the Eyes of a Painter . It was shown at the Berlin Festival and won a Golden Bear. Some of his best-known works are called the Sufi paintings, which were first exhibited at the Pundole Gallery in 1978.

Hussain is famous not only for his paintings but also for his experiments and conducts which are often inscrutable to the general public. Mention might be made of his Shwetambari exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery that consisted of two halls shrouded in white cloth, whorls of which also shared the floor with torn newspapers. Equally interesting was his public performance at the Tata Center in Calcutta. For several days a crowd watched as Hussain painted pictures of six goddesses only to destroy the paintings by overpainting with white on the last day of the exhibition.

Hussain was nominated to the upper house of the Indian Parliament, the Rajya Sabha in 1987; and during his six year term he produced the Sansad Portfolio . Hussain has made a widely known and controversial series of paintings inspired by the Indian actress Madhuri Dixit. He has also made two experimental films.

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