Short biography: MF Hussain
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M.F.Hussain (Maqbool Fida Hussain) was a World
famous Indian painter. He received Padmashri, Padmabhushan and
Born on September 17, 1915 in Pandharpur in Maharashtra, Husain was mainly a
self-taught artist. He lost his mother when he was one and a half years old.
Husain's father remarried and moved to Indore. MF Hussain did his schooling from
Indore. In 1935, MF Hussain moved to Bombay and joined Sir J. J. School of Art.
He made ends meet in his initial days by painting cinema hoardings in Mumbai,
paid barely four or six annas per square foot. As soon as he earned a little bit
he used to take off for Surat, Baroda and Ahmedabad to paint landscapes. Husain
tried other jobs and one of the best paying was a toy factory where he designed
and built toys.
Husain first became well-known as an artist in the late 1940s. In 1947, he
joined the Progressive Artists' Group, founded by Francis Newton Souza. This was
a clique of young artists who wished to break with the nationalist traditions
established by the Bengal school of art and to encourage an Indian avant-garde,
engaged at an international level. In 1952, his first solo exhibition was held
at Zürich and over the next few years, his work was widely seen in Europe and
the US In 1955, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri award by the
Government of India.
In 1967, he made his first film, Through the Eyes of a Painter. It was shown at
the Berlin Film Festival and won a Golden Bear.
M. F. Husain was a special invitee along with Pablo Picasso at the Sao Paulo
Biennial in 1971. He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973 and was
nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1986. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in
Husain went on to become the highest paid painter in India. His single canvases
have fetched up to $2 million at Christie's auction.
He has also worked (produced & directed) on few movies, including Gaja Gamini
with Madhuri Dixit His autobiography is being made into a movie
tentatively titled The Making of the Painter, starring Shreyas Talpade as the
At the age of 92 Husain was to be given the prestigious Raja Ravi Varma award by
the government of Kerala. The announcement led to controversy in Kerala and some
cultural organisations campaigned against the granting of the award
After a long career, in 1996, when Husain was 81 years old, controversy arose
over paintings originally created in the 1970s which were interpreted by some as
being anti-Hindu. After legal cases and death threats in his home country, he
was on a self imposed exile from 2006. In January 2010, he was offered the
citizenship of Qatar, which he accepted. He died in London in June 2011.