Know Your Artist — By the Numbers: M.F Husain

Know Your Artist — By the Numbers: M.F Husain

Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011) — commonly known as M.F Husain is regarded as the most eminent and globally recognized modern Indian artist of the 20th century. Not only was he one of the founding members of the Bombay Progressive Artists Group, but was responsible for modernizing Indian art — and which encouraged artists to embrace Modernism.

Husain grew up in Gujarat and his interest in art was evident at a very young age when he was e learning the art of calligraphy during his stay at Madraasa in Baroda. He relocated to Mumbai to study at the Sir J.J. School of Arts and become an artist.

“Husain began his career in 1937 by painting graphic advertisements and billboards for Bollywood movies. To earn extra money he also designed and made toys and often traveled to Gujarat to paint landscapes. Husain’s oil-on-canvas narrative paintings, executed in bold and vibrant colors, were a blend of Cubism and classical Indian style,” writes Blouin Artinfo. “Owing to the popularity of his paintings, he is often referred to as the ‘Picasso of India.’ His works portrayed diverse subjects such as Mohandas K. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Ramayan, the British Raj, as well as themes of Indian urban and rural life and the lively and free spirit of horses.”

2010 and 2013 were the best years for Husain in terms of sales with nearly $14 million for each year. Very few of his works were left unsold in this season. In 2010, most of his works, or 47 percent, sold in the range of $100,000 to $1 million, and in 2013, 17 percent were sold in that range. By 2016, his sales dropped to $5.2 million, a 10-year low, with his highest sale reaching $666,000 and with about 70 percent of artworks selling for less than $50,000. In 2017, sales climbed, reaching $7.8 million, which was bolstered by the sale of “Untitled,” which fetched $1.4 million at the auction house Pundole’s The Fine Art Sale in Mumbai.

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Founder: Louise Blouin    



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