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M. F. Husain’s Modern India at the Art Institute of Chicago

M. F. Husain’s Modern India at the Art Institute of Chicago

The artist M. F. Husain honed his skills in 1930s Mumbai as a painter for hire, creating vivid billboards to draw audiences for the growing Indian film industry. He went on to join other artists who wanted to throw off traditional styles but frequently returned to cinematic subjects like the actress Madhuri Dixit. In 2008, Husain was commissioned to create 32 large-scale paintings depicting the sweep of Indian history and culture. He finished eight before his death in 2011 at 95. Those triptychs, his final works, will be displayed in the United States for the first time beginning on Friday, July 14, at the Art Institute of Chicago in “India Modern: The Paintings of M. F. Husain.” The works range through time, from the ancient city of Varanasi to India’s modern capital, New Delhi. There’s no movie to promote here, but the tale is still epic. (Through March 4; artic.edu.)





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