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Jhoola (1961)
By Maqbool Fida Husain
Oil on canvas
Size: 129.5 x 58.4 centimetres (51.5 x 23 inches)
Estimated price: £220,000-250,000

This year marks the centenary of the birth of the modern master, Maqbool Fida Husain. On the eve of Independence, Husain and his contemporaries established a movement that was to represent a new era in South Asian art.

Although an advocate of international modernism, Husain chose to draw on aspects of his heritage as a way of portraying the present. The layered vocabulary of his paintings was derived from a myriad of sources, drawing from the classical, the miniature and the folk, to formulate a distinctive pictorial language that was both mythical and real.

A highlight of the forthcoming South Asian sale is a painting from 1961, entitled Jhoola. This beautiful painting demonstrates the artist’s appreciation of the rhythmic nature of classical sculpture, combined with his absorption of the palette of the Indian countryside and the miniature school tradition that he so greatly admired. His work was centred around the depiction of the human figure and in particular the portrayal of the indigenous rural peasant.

Jhoola aptly displays the powerful nature of Husain’s rural woman, who possesses an inner dignity and strength that is both ancient and modern. In this painting, Husain has successfully combined the art practices of the west with the east and the folk with the classical to create a true masterpiece.

Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art Sale will take place in London on June 11, 2013.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 26, 2013.