Search Price Results
Wish

LOT 38

Gurukul

[ translate ]

PROPERTY OF A MUMBAI FAMILY

Acrylic on canvas
1978
33 × 49 7/8 in. (83.8 × 126.8 cm.)

Signed and dated ‘Husain / ’78’ and further signed in Devanagari and Urdu lower left

‘Husain drew from the classical, the miniature and folk, and attempted to meld it into a language which formulated the present. It allowed him to express a perceived reality which, while being seamless, mythical and vast, was at the same time hurtling towards industrialisation and modernisation.’ (Yashodhara Dalmia, ‘M.F. Husain: Reinventing India’, introductory essay to M. F. Husain, Early Masterpieces 1950s - 70s, exhibition catalogue, Asia House, London, 2006, unpaginated)

Husain travelled widely throughout the Indian sub-continent, exploring the landscapes and various cultures of India. He was inspired by the varying scenery and people, learning about the stories and traditions they had inherited. The resulting compositions, for the most part, depict picturesque rural scenes of villagers surrounded by their families.

The current painting depicts a traditional ‘guru-shishya’ set- up, a practice he may have read about in the Mahabharata, or something he may have observed during his travels across the country. Whilst the scene of young students learning under the cool shade of a banyan tree in the village centre may have been a common one, Husain has certainly asserted a fair amount of artistic license by creating a composite scene. In addition to the sage, identifiable through his specific hairstyle and robes, five students dressed in dhotis sit in front of him, heads bent intently studying the sheets they hold. They appear to be bald – suggesting perhaps that they have just completed a ritual that required shaving their heads. Above the head of the sage is the perfect circular orb of the Sun, radiating life- giving energy and perhaps bestowing him with similar powers to disseminate wisdom. At the left of the group is the goddess Saraswati, traditionally associated with knowledge and learning. In her hands she holds the veena, her musical instrument of choice, and at her feet is her vahana or mount, the graceful hamsa or white swan, floating in the water alongside a large lotus flower, which she often stands or sits upon.

Husain’s treatment of the canvas relies on both colour and line, but it is his talent as a draughtsman that dominates the current work. ‘Husain’s creative translations or transmutations of form and reality, have been made with eclat. An artist’s idiom is a matter of line, form and colour, symbol and metaphor. Husain wields a quick, nervous line of great sensitiveness and energy. It is a versatile line, capable of both power and poetry. It divides his forms in firm definition, broods among his grouped figures... But impeccable draughtsman that he is, Husain is a greater painter and his line is never conceived apart from form and colour, from his exacting demands of spatial organisation. He has spent years exploring the interaction of line and colour in his paintings. Sometimes he has allowed his line greater definition, allowed it to build and divide with power; at others he has sought a more muted line, working inwards from the edges of his canvas, towards a face or a form, and stopping with the line only a suggestion. The result of these years has been a realisation that line moves faster than colour, that the eye catches the colour quicker but also retains it longer than the line.’ (Shiv S. Kapur, Husain, New Delhi, p. iv)

The figures here are created using this signature bold line in black, highly effective against a background of the thick white application he has used for all the figures. In contrast, the background is executed in a cool palette of greys and blues, the only respite coming from the slim panel of lilac behind the goddess, immediately surrounding her with a celestial aura of sorts, and the watery yellow sun, constant and radiant.

While he always handles pigment superlatively with ‘plasticity and purpose’, it is the line that ‘... is a part of the structure of colour, if not the gesture of the colour itself or its aura. The canvas has a richly naked appeal, uncluttered with the trappings of conventional painting. [He] deals with colour sensuously or sensually, impressing immediate and active images characteristically their own... In Husain it is a symbol, between the illusion of theatre and the idealism of stone sculpture. The image portrays not only the still moment at the peak of the action, but the end of action itself. Man is their metaphor....’ (Richard Bartholomew, ‘Contemporary Indian Painting’, exhibition catalogue, 1973, reprinted in The Art Critic, Noida, 2012, p. 85)
Condition: The colours of the original are slightly richer than the catalogue illustration. The painting has been recently cleaned and varnished. When examined under UV light, a few very minor spots of re-touching are visible and one very small area of pigment loss to the central seated figure, as visible in the catalogue illustrations. Overall good condition.

[ translate ]
Sale price
Unlock
Estimate
Unlock
Reserve
Unlock
Time, Location
25 Apr 2024
India, Mumbai
Auction House
Unlock

[ translate ]

PROPERTY OF A MUMBAI FAMILY

Acrylic on canvas
1978
33 × 49 7/8 in. (83.8 × 126.8 cm.)

Signed and dated ‘Husain / ’78’ and further signed in Devanagari and Urdu lower left

‘Husain drew from the classical, the miniature and folk, and attempted to meld it into a language which formulated the present. It allowed him to express a perceived reality which, while being seamless, mythical and vast, was at the same time hurtling towards industrialisation and modernisation.’ (Yashodhara Dalmia, ‘M.F. Husain: Reinventing India’, introductory essay to M. F. Husain, Early Masterpieces 1950s - 70s, exhibition catalogue, Asia House, London, 2006, unpaginated)

Husain travelled widely throughout the Indian sub-continent, exploring the landscapes and various cultures of India. He was inspired by the varying scenery and people, learning about the stories and traditions they had inherited. The resulting compositions, for the most part, depict picturesque rural scenes of villagers surrounded by their families.

The current painting depicts a traditional ‘guru-shishya’ set- up, a practice he may have read about in the Mahabharata, or something he may have observed during his travels across the country. Whilst the scene of young students learning under the cool shade of a banyan tree in the village centre may have been a common one, Husain has certainly asserted a fair amount of artistic license by creating a composite scene. In addition to the sage, identifiable through his specific hairstyle and robes, five students dressed in dhotis sit in front of him, heads bent intently studying the sheets they hold. They appear to be bald – suggesting perhaps that they have just completed a ritual that required shaving their heads. Above the head of the sage is the perfect circular orb of the Sun, radiating life- giving energy and perhaps bestowing him with similar powers to disseminate wisdom. At the left of the group is the goddess Saraswati, traditionally associated with knowledge and learning. In her hands she holds the veena, her musical instrument of choice, and at her feet is her vahana or mount, the graceful hamsa or white swan, floating in the water alongside a large lotus flower, which she often stands or sits upon.

Husain’s treatment of the canvas relies on both colour and line, but it is his talent as a draughtsman that dominates the current work. ‘Husain’s creative translations or transmutations of form and reality, have been made with eclat. An artist’s idiom is a matter of line, form and colour, symbol and metaphor. Husain wields a quick, nervous line of great sensitiveness and energy. It is a versatile line, capable of both power and poetry. It divides his forms in firm definition, broods among his grouped figures... But impeccable draughtsman that he is, Husain is a greater painter and his line is never conceived apart from form and colour, from his exacting demands of spatial organisation. He has spent years exploring the interaction of line and colour in his paintings. Sometimes he has allowed his line greater definition, allowed it to build and divide with power; at others he has sought a more muted line, working inwards from the edges of his canvas, towards a face or a form, and stopping with the line only a suggestion. The result of these years has been a realisation that line moves faster than colour, that the eye catches the colour quicker but also retains it longer than the line.’ (Shiv S. Kapur, Husain, New Delhi, p. iv)

The figures here are created using this signature bold line in black, highly effective against a background of the thick white application he has used for all the figures. In contrast, the background is executed in a cool palette of greys and blues, the only respite coming from the slim panel of lilac behind the goddess, immediately surrounding her with a celestial aura of sorts, and the watery yellow sun, constant and radiant.

While he always handles pigment superlatively with ‘plasticity and purpose’, it is the line that ‘... is a part of the structure of colour, if not the gesture of the colour itself or its aura. The canvas has a richly naked appeal, uncluttered with the trappings of conventional painting. [He] deals with colour sensuously or sensually, impressing immediate and active images characteristically their own... In Husain it is a symbol, between the illusion of theatre and the idealism of stone sculpture. The image portrays not only the still moment at the peak of the action, but the end of action itself. Man is their metaphor....’ (Richard Bartholomew, ‘Contemporary Indian Painting’, exhibition catalogue, 1973, reprinted in The Art Critic, Noida, 2012, p. 85)
Condition: The colours of the original are slightly richer than the catalogue illustration. The painting has been recently cleaned and varnished. When examined under UV light, a few very minor spots of re-touching are visible and one very small area of pigment loss to the central seated figure, as visible in the catalogue illustrations. Overall good condition.

[ translate ]
Sale price
Unlock
Estimate
Unlock
Reserve
Unlock
Time, Location
25 Apr 2024
India, Mumbai
Auction House
Unlock