MF Husain, India's exiled Picasso, dies in London

MF Husain, India's celebrated painter, died in London at the Royal Brompton hospital. His body may not be brought to India for burial and his last rites may be conducted in London.

FP Editors June 09, 2011 12:55:22 IST
MF Husain, India's exiled Picasso, dies in London

Maqbool Fida Husain, India’s celebrity painter, died at Royal Brompton hospital in London at 2:30 am local time, family sources say. He was 95. He was said to be in indifferent health for the last 45 days.

According to one report in Mumbai’s Mid-Day, his body will not be brought to India for burial and that his last rites will be conducted in London.

MF Husain Indias exiled Picasso dies in London

Leading Indian artist MF Husain died due to a heart attack today in London. Getty Images.

Described as India's Picasso, Husain spent in his last years in self-imposed exile after a controversial depiction of Hindu gods, which Hindu organisations objected to. One of his most controversial paintings was the depiction of Mother India in the nude and was superimposed on a map of India.

After a series of sustained protests by Hindu groups, he withdrew the painting from an exhibition, and later apologised, said the report in Mid-Day.

Husain, who started off by making film posters in 1940s, went on to create paintings that fetched more than $1 million regularly at auctions. He was the recipient in 1991 of 'Padma Vibhushan', the country's second-highest civilian award. He dabbled in film-making through films like 'Through the eyes of the painter', 'Gajagamini' and 'Meenakshi: The tale of three cities'

In January, 2010, Qatar offered him a citizenship, which he accepted.

Hindu chauvinists attacked his home and galleries showing his work. He has spent most of the last 10 years fighting court cases under Indian laws which allow the prosecution of anyone who threatens communal harmony — which is loosely defined.

Husain first gained fame in the late 1940s, during the latter half of which he joined the Progressive Artists' Group. This group tried to break with nationalist traditions established during the freedom struggle.

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