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Family plans Mumbai museum

world Updated: Jun 13, 2011 01:45 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

MF Husain, India's most popular and controversial artist, may return to his beloved India through a museum of his painting in Mumbai, the artist's son, Mustafa, told Hindustan Times on Sunday.

The family chose Mumbai because of Husain's long association with the city. He began his career painting hoardings for Hindi films in Mumbai and lived and worked there for decades.

But, the plan will take a while to materialise. The family is faced with the challenging task of cataloguing the works of a man who painted prolifically until his death last week at 95.

"There are a lot of paintings scattered all over the world and we're in the process of cataloguing them," Mustafa said.

"Although my father did not want grand memorials built, a permanent museum would be a fitting tribute."

No one is certain exactly how many Husains there are.

Indian-born steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, an ardent Husain collector, told HT at a memorial meeting in London on Saturday that the artist probably left behind around 24,000 paintings.

"Husain was a very hard worker," he said.

One of the last major works that Husain finished was a series on Indian civilization - a project that the painter thought of and Mittal commissioned.

The museum will perhaps make amends for the fact that Husain, forced into exile after right-wing protests over some of his works, left India for good in 2006, eventually accepting Qatari citizenship.