MF Husain, the Toymaker

When MF Husain, then a struggling artist, welcomed his first child Shafat into the world in 1942, the emotions of parenthood reflected in his artwork as well. The doting father painted his son playing with toddlers in a fairytale land, complete with chirping birds and hopping rabbits. In a private collection till now, three works from the series are set to come under the hammer at the Art Bull auction of "Emerging, Contemporary, The Masters and The Folk & Tribal Art" on November 21.

The auction will also familiarise art connoisseurs to Husain, the toymaker. Two toys sculpted by the maverick artist will also be on sale. Created in the 1960s, the wooden toys depict a tabla and a dholak player. "These were gifted by Husain to an academician, who in turn gave them to her brother. Ever since, these have been in the family. The family had quite a few toys, but only two remain," says Siddhartha Tagore, director, Art Bull. Husain worked at a toy factory in the 1940s but these toys were made many years later.

The collection, comprising 97 lots, has other notable works as well. Among these, Jamini Roy's depiction of the Last Supper is estimated between Rs 9 lakh and Rs 13 lakh, and Jehangir Sabavala's portrayal of the crucifixion of Christ is estimated to sell for around Rs 1.10 crore. NS Bendre's work shows a sombre Indira Gandhi in a canvas estimated between Rs 1.50 lakh and 10 lakh, and Nandalal Bose's watercolour, inspired by the Ajanta Caves, is estimated between Rs 3.50 lakh and 5 lakh. "We have the Masters and the contemporaries and, thus, something for everyone," says Tagore, who hopes to collect around Rs 10 crore during the auction.

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