Modern and Contemporary Art from India
February 25, 2011 through September 4, 2011, San Jose Museum of Art
UNTITLED from the “Raj” series, 1985
Watercolor on paper
38 ¼ x 30 ½ inches
Private collection

Maqbool Fida Husain
Born 1915, Pundharpur, Maharashtra, India
Died 2011 in London

This watercolor from Maqbool Fida Husain’s 1985 “Raj” series addresses colonial encounters with wit and satire. A British colonial officer and his wife return from a tiger hunt; the tiger’s body dangling from the side of the elephant indicates the hunter’s prowess and potency. The couple is attended by a chowrie-bearer, who brushes away flies and further indicates the passengers’ importance. Here, Husain implied that emissaries of the British Empire assumed the role of a maharaja, a ruler over the former sovereign Indian states.