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MANU PAREKH Ji- a 3rd generation modernist, was born in 1939 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and moved to Mumbai, where he got his diploma in drawing and painting from JJ school of art in 1962. He always considering Shankar Palsikar as his mentor and the reason for his JJ-ness even today. 

 

He is married to the very talented artist- Madhvi Parekh Ji, who has had no formal education in art but a very strong inclination to paint He says “She religiously painted until her last month of pregnancy. And, I was convinced she can become a great artist.” They both share

Paul Klee’s influence in their lives. Manu Ji asked Madhvi Ji to practice his pedagogical exercises. 

 

Manu Ji travelled immensely throughout India and this has enriched his regional experiences. Places like Haryana Bihar, Kashi, to name a few. He also lived in Kolkata for 10 years. After Kolkata, Manu Ji moved to Delhi. These experiences helped him build his oeuvre, that marks an ongoing calculative pace of observation as well as his perception. Hence he quotes that “Individualism does not exist, rather it is not real. We have moved forward from history by sharing and borrowing stuff with and from each other.”

Vivek Abrol celebrating MF Husain's birthday by donating to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Darga in Delhi

We know him for his free spirited horses and his vibrant renditions of his palette. He is easily one of India’s most recognisable artists, and today we celebrate his 105th birth anniversary.

 

Husain is special to us. I had met him for the first time in 2007 in Dubai and again in 2009. He gifted us something, and we never got to return the gesture during his lifetime. So here we are, paying tribute to him through this offering. 

 

MF Husain is arguably India’s most recognised painter – by name and work. His angular edges gave him the

nickname the Picasso of India, but they also called him the people’s painter and the barefoot artist. His work in the 40s, when he co-founded The Progressive Artists Group of Bombay, was revolutionary. He pioneered modernism in India, along with Raza, Souza, Ara, Gade and Bakre.

Those were exciting times for Indian art, which went from academic realism to abstract modernism. The Progressive Artists Group and its many members formed one of the most important art movement in the country. In the ten decades of his life, Husain produced an estimated 40 thousand works, which come up at every significant auction of South Asian Art. He has been India’s highest earning artist for many years now.

Through his life, Husain did more than just paint. He wrote and directed a number of arthouse films. As the recent Astaguru auction revealed, he even designed rarely seen toys,

jewellery and tapestry. He was also member of Parliament in the late ’80s.

 

Husain lived a long and eventful life. Like many great artists, his legacy shall live on through his numerous works.

 

I sure am glad that his works are a treasured part of our collection.