Maqbool Fida Husain (17 September 1915 – 9 June 2011) was a modern Indian painter of international acclaim, and a founding member of Bombay Progressive Artists' Group.
Husain was associated with Indian modernism in the 1940s. His early association with the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group used modern technique, and was inspired by the "new" India after The Partition of 1947. His narrative paintings, executed in a modified Cubist style, can be caustic and funny as well as serious and sombre. His themes—sometimes treated in series—include topics as diverse as Mohandas K. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the British raj, and motifs of Indian urban and rural life. Early in his painting career, and until his death, he enjoyed depicting the lively and free spirit of horses in many of his works.Husain is the most celebrated and internationally recognized Indian artist of the 20th century. Husain is primarily known for his paintings, but is also known for his drawings and his work as a printmaker, photographer, and filmmaker. Some of his later works stirred controversy, as they depicted traditional deities of India in non-traditional ways including nude portrayals of the deities.
He also directed a few movies. In 1967, he received the National Film Award for Best Experimental Film for Through the Eyes of a Painter. In 2004, he directed Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities, a film he worked on with his artist son Owais Husain, which was screened in the Marché du Film section of the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
Husain was born on 17 September 1915 in Pandharpur to a Sulaymani Bohra family who trace their roots back to Gujarat within the last 200 years, and then originally to Yemen. He picked up taste in art through studying calligraphy while he stayed at a Madraasa in Baroda. Husain attended the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art in Mumbai. Early in his career Husain painted cinema posters in Mumbai. To earn extra money, he worked for a toy company designing and building toys. He often travelled to Gujarat to paint landscapes when he could afford to.
Husain developed his painting skills in the 1930s, painting billboards for the growing Bollywood film industry. This was a clique of young artists who wished to break with the nationalist traditions established by the Bengal school of art and to encourage an Indian avant-garde, engaged at an international level. The artists cite "The Partition" of India and Pakistan 14 August 1947, with its resulting religious rioting and heavy loss of life as their reason for forming The Progressive Artist's Group in Bombay in December 1947. The artists saw the Partition as a "turning point" for India, and their new style of art was urged on by, and was also a turning point for, (modern) Indian Art. Husain's first solo exhibit was in 1952 in Zurich. His first U.S.A. exhibit was at India House in New York in 1964. In 1966, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri .
In 1967, he made his first film,Through the Eyes of a Painter It was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival and won a Golden Bear short film award.
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