He lived under the shadow of his father in the world of art where he strived to paint a picture that would be reckoned as his masterpiece.
Shamshad Husain, son of late veteran artist MF Husain, breathed his last on Saturday evening at his Delhi home. Diagnosed with liver cancer in September, his condition rapidly deteriorated. He was admitted at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Vasant Kunj. The 69-year-old artist is survived by two daughters.
“He had developed a style of his own. A gentle person, his figuration was modest and had a personal quality, unlike the more flamboyant works of his father,” says artist Vivan Sundaram.
Postgraduate from the Royal College of Art, London, Shamshad was best known for flattened surfaces and figurative depictions in a subdued palette. His themes ranged from environmental and social concerns to dark realities and human relations. Primarily working with oils and acrylic, his popular works include a series based on ‘Love In The Time of Cholera’, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s famous book. He also reportedly worked on a series dedicated to his father.
“He was great fun and liked to party; one of the nicest guys I knew. My father (J Swaminathan) really liked him. Husain saab used to say ‘yeh ghar ka gau hai’. It’s sad that he and Mrinalini Mukherjee passed away in the same year. I can’t think of the Delhi art scene without them,” says art writer S Kalidas.
Known to be close to his father, “his death in 2011 left a deep impact on Shamshad”, says photographer and activist Ram Rahman, who is close to the Husain family.
“He was one of his favourites and very sensitive,” says Rahman, who met Shamshad last month at an art exhibition marking MF Husain’s 100th birth anniversary in Delhi.