Thursday, June 9, 2011

Maqbool Fida Husain The Famous Artist Died Today

Maqbool Fida Husain, the artist who earned fame and controversy over his paintings, died in a London hospital early this morning. He was 95. Dubbed the 'Picasso of India', Husain's work is a blend of cubism and classical Indian styles that fetches millions of dollars on international art markets.

His depictions of naked Hindu goddesses enraged zealots who attacked his house, vandalised shows displaying his work and drove him to flee India. For years, galleries were too frightened of protests to display his work.

He first began by hand-painting Bollywood film posters and later joined the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group in the late 1940s after Indian independence from Britain. They tried to create a new art for a new country, combining Indian traditions with modern Western avant-garde styles.

Famous for walking barefoot and carrying a large paintbrush like a riding crop, Husain grew from a struggling commercial painter creating cinema hoardings in the late 1930s to one of India's leading artists. ( )

In 1967, his first film, "Through the Eyes of a Painter", won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. Four years later, he met the Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso at the Sao Paolo Art Biennial.

He was part of the Progressive Artists Group, a collective that broke tradition to create avant-garde art. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, in 1989 and nominated to the upper house of parliament in 1986.

By then, Husain was more famous for controversy after a series of paintings from the 1970s depicting revered goddesses in the nude were published in a Hindi-language magazine in 1996. Further controversy came in 2006 over Husain's "Bharatmata" or Mother India, depicting a nude woman posing across a map of the country with the names of various states on her body.

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