The Art Institute of Chicago is presenting a special installation in its efforts towards the celebration of the 70th anniversary of India’s independence. The exhibition, which is the centrepiece of the Art Institute is titled “India Modern: The Paintings of MF Husain” and is on display through March 4, 2018. The exhibition has eight large triptychs from the Indian Civilisation series by the legendary painter MF Husain (1915–2011). Displayed prominently across five of the museum’s Asian art galleries, the exhibition marks the first time the series is being displayed in the United States.
MF Husain, official name Maqbool Fida Husain, was India’s most important artist in the 20th-century, he was also a vital force in the development of modern Indian art. In 2008 London-based Indian art collectors Usha and Lakshmi N Mittal commissioned Husain to create a series celebrating India’s rich and diverse history and culture, from its earliest civilisation of Mohenjo Daro to the times of Mahatma Gandhi. When the artist died in 2011, only eight of the commissioned 32 triptychs had been completed; they are the last works of this modern master.
Each triptych of the series displays a different aspect of Indian culture. Hindu Triad, for instance, shows the three principal gods of the Hindu mythology in their aspects as creator, protector, and destroyer of the universe. Interspersed among centuries of Indian sculpture on view in the Alsdorf Galleries, Husain’s paintings are presented in dialogue with and contextualised within the continuum of Indian art. The experience of these works is further enriched by interpretive elements and engaging programming throughout the run of the installation.
By Team THN