An untitled painting by master artist MF Husain, who died on June 9, was auctioned in Mumbai on Friday, the proceeds to be donated to NGO Life Trust, which works to educate underprivileged children.
The painting, donated by a private collector who wished to remain anonymous, was bought by another private collector for Rs 22 lakh.
Considered one of Husain’s most important works, the untitled work was created in the mid-1960s, during the artist’s maiden visit to Rajasthan — a trip that sparked his love affair with that state and its vibrant art and cultural traditions, influencing much of his later work, especially in terms of the colours that he used.
“This watercolour on paper is a characteristic of my father’s Indian folk iconography, marked by simple imagery with minimal but strong lines,” said Husain’s son Owais. “This work has never been displayed on a public platform.”
Friday’s auction was part of a one-day event organised by Indo-American non-profit organisation Namaste America, which works to promote cultural ties between the two countries. On display at the event were five other Husain paintings, all on loan from private collectors.
Among these was an untitled painting depicting Goddess Laxmi, painted in vibrant colours.
“I remember my father telling me several times that he worked like a jeweller on this painting,” said Owais, who also delivered a lecture on art at the event.
“Our organisation strives to create goodwill between India and USA through art,” said Namaste America president Atul Nishar. “Since MF Husian is a well-known artist in the US too, we thought we would pay tribute to his genius.”