LONDON: Sotheby’s recent “phygital” auction of M.F. Husain’s horse painting “Fury” — which was painted in Dubai and sold in London for $201,600 as both a physical painting and an NFT Unique Digital Edition — is a first for an Indian artist’s work.
For the groundbreaking sale, Sotheby’s partnered with Hefty Art which aims to bring both “legendary artists and untapped talent to the blockchain,” according to a press release. Hefty Art joined hands with the estate of Husain, with the artist’s son, multimedia artist Owais Husain, describing the move as fitting for an artist who “had a pulse on innovation and what was to come next.”
Sotheby’s Head of Sale for Indian and South Asian Art Manjari Sihare-Sutin, told Arab News: “Maqbool Fida Husain is the master and father of modern Indian art. Everyone tends to call Husain the Picasso of Indian art, but I personally think he was the Andy Warhol of Indian art. He knew how to market his work. He was a maverick, he was generous.”
“Fury” is part of a later series of horse paintings that Husain created in Dubai in 2000.
Sihare-Sutin described the sale as the latest chapter in Sotheby’s long association with the artist. Twenty-seven years ago, Husain’s artworks formed a major part of its dedicated sale of Indian art collected by Chester and Davida Herwitz. This art-loving American couple, explained Sihare-Sutin, first visited India in 1961 where they “befriended Husain who opened the world of Indian art to them.”
Husain, who was 84 when he painted “Fury,” had a lifelong fascination with horses. In 1952, he travelled to China where he studied the pottery horses of the Song dynasty.
Subsequently in Europe, he was inspired by the equestrian work of Franz Marc and Mario Marini, and further refined his approach to rendering horses in his visit to Iraq in 1965.