M F Husain was born in Pandharpur in Maharashtra in 1915. As a child he was fascinated by the scenery and sights and sounds that surrounded him. He was a self-taught artist who rose to towering heights later in life. Husain began his career painting film poster hoardings in Mumbai. He would save some money and then head off to see artworks in Mumbai, Surat, Baroda and Ahmedabad.
In 1947 Husain was invited to join the Progressive art group by FN Souza which pioneered a new direction in modern Indian art. Husain was not just a painter he also was a filmmaker making short films, documentaries, and feature films.
Husain was famous for drawing on India’s mythological heritage in his paintings. Some of MF Husain’s paintings which were world famous and expensive are:
1) A MF Husain painting called “Battle of Ganga and Jamuna,” an oil on canvas was sold for 16 lakh US dollars at an auction in 2008. Made in 1972, this painting set the record for the most expensive piece of art by Husain at that time. The auction was conducted by Christies in New York.
2) Another painting titled a “Tribute to Hashmi” sold for $ 1.03 million in Kolkata. This oil painting was one the most expensive paintings ever sold in India.
3) Saffronart sold an untitled MF Husain painting featuring his trademark horses and a woman, for Rs 2 crore, in 2010. This was the highest price that had ever been paid for a spring auction.
4) Husain’s Cinq Sens (Five Senses) which he made while staying with Italian film director Roberto Rosellini was auctioned for Rs. 3.6 crores, by Sotherby’s in New York. The entire lot of paintings generated Rs 11.6 crores in sales on that day.
5) Husain’s diptych” That Obscure Object of Desire” was sold for Rs 2.15 crores at Sotherby’s South Asian art auction.
6) Sotheby’s also auctioned, Husain's Untitled work featuring Benares for Rs 1.6 crores.
7) A MF Husain painting titled the Beast and another untitled work of oil on canvas, were sold at Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art sale. The two painting together were sold for approximately Rs 1.6 crores.
8) The Sixth Seal, a painting of MF Husain in the cubist modern style was sold for approximately Rs 3.7 crores in 2010. It is believed that this one of the last paintings of MF Husain that was sold while he was still alive.
Husain also painted a series of painting that were inspired by the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He got into trouble with right wing activists over his depictions of Hindu goddesses in the nude. He finally left India and settled in London and then subsequently moved to Qatar where he took on Qatari citizenship. Till his last day MF Husain longed for nothing more than to come back to India.