Two horse paintings by celebrated Indian artist, Maqbol Fida Husain are among the front runners at Bonhams
Modern and Contemporary South Asian sale which will take place on 8th April in Londons New Bond Street.
The horse has been a key theme in the artist's oeuvre throughout the last sixty years. MF Husain, who earned both fame and wrath for his paintings, is regarded as the "Picasso of India".
The top lot in the sale is MF Husains Untitled (Horses), an oil on canvas executed in 1978, estimated at £150,000-£250,000. In the offered lot, two crazed horses are portrayed bucking and kicking, with gaping mouths and wide staring eyes against a dark ink-blue background. The fawn bodies of the beasts are marked out in heavy black line and smudged shadows.
The period of 1965-1975 was one of the most troubled decades in the history of modern India and the effects of the conflict heavily influenced Husain's painting. Several works from this period reflect this mood of aggression and violence.
Walk on Earth, an acrylic on canvas executed in 1983, is another of Husains highlights. It is offered for sale with estimates of £40,000-60,000.
As conflict subsided, colour crept back into Husains work. Three horses in vivid yellow, green and chalky grey against a colourful green and red background. As a Muslim, Husain was heavily influenced by his Islamic faith. Walk on Earth most probably refers to the Qu'ran writing, "Do not walk pompously or arrogantly about the earth; you cannot break it open, nor match the mountains in height."
Maqbol Fida Husain travelled extensively during his lifetime and the influence of different cultures upon his work is clear to see. In its early stages, he was very much influenced by the Chinese style. In the 1950s Husian had visited China where he encountered the art of the Sung Dynasty and was particularly inspired by the depiction of horses by celebrated Chinese artist, Xu Beihong (President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China).
Husains trademark horses have now become a vital part of Indian art history.