A divine gift that will always be treasured
In 1972, renowned artist MF Husain gifted a painting of Guru Nanak Dev to his friend art gallery owner Kuljit Singh Butalia. It was the auspicious day of Gurpurab, the birthday of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Husain made this painting within a few hours. “My father had gone to the Gurudwara on Guru Purab to pray. Husain got to know about it. So, when my father came back and went to his art gallery, Husain came there and surprised him with this beautiful gift,” shares Sumeet Man Singh, Butalia’s daughter.
Sumeet tells us that the painting was kept in their Gallery, Gita Art Gallery, which was set up in 1964, in the Oberoi Hotel, New Delhi. Later, the gallery was moved to the third floor of their home when the hotel was renovating its arcade. It now proudly hangs in their home. “It is the only Guru Nanak Dev Ji painting Husain ever made. My dad was a good friend and he often travelled to Mumbai to meet him,” says Singh.
“I had seen him as a kid…at exhibitions, he used to be there and he would be in this space and suddenly he would produce a painting! It would just leave us awe-struck. The strokes were so clear and so fast that it was a sight to see,” adds Singh.
The family got many offers to sell the painting but it was a cherished gift that they never thought of giving to anyone. “We got so many offers but there was no question of selling it ever,” says Singh.