High-profile art lovers gathered to admire previously unseen paintings and drawings from the celebrated MF Husain, also known as the “Picasso of Indian art”.
In collaboration with India Art Week, the Choudhrie family, who run the C&C Alpha Group, exhibited the works from their private collection.
Bhanu Choudhrie told Eastern Eye his parents had formed a strong bond with the acclaimed artist during his time in London.
Husain lived in exile in London for five years after receiving death threats from Hindu fundamentalists outraged by his depiction of naked deities.
The artist, who passed away in 2011, was best known for his mix of cubist and classical Indian styles which fetched millions of pounds.
The Choudhries, who established the Stellar International Art Foundation, which comprises over 600 pieces dating from the late 19th century to the present day, unveiled the collection last Thursday (4) at Shapero Rare Books in Mayfair.
Choudhrie said: “The family art foundation Stellar Arts has been collecting MF Husain’s art for many years; it started in the 1970s.
“These pieces are from the latter part of his life. You’ve got the Maria collection, which is something he painted back in the 50s. He fell in love with this girl Maria, and in 2008 he went to meet her in Australia.
“She gave all the paintings he had painted with her back, so it became a very important collection for him.
“He painted his last painting with her in 2008 so the collection spans from the 1950s and ends in 2008. It is the first time this collection is being shown in public in the UK.
“He became very close to my family.In the later part of his years when he went into self-exile from India and spent a lot of time in London, he gifted a lot of his work to the foundation.
“He knew the foundation was going to showcase the work he had done over the years to the public and not sell the art, which is what a lot of other people would have done.”
The master of Indian art was highly regarded by the Choudhrie family, who also own five large-scale Damian Hirsts, and work from Andy Warhol and Anish Kapoor.
Paresh Maity, who was awarded a prestigious Padma Shri award last year in India (which celebrates distinguished contributions to the arts and other fields in recognition of his abstract artwork), was among the guests at the event.
Visitors also had the chance to preview the foundation’s seminal publication on the artist MF Husain: The Journey of a Legend.
“People today have come from all walks of life to see the art, to see a master of Indian art. I feel very proud for it to be shown to people and for them to appreciate this work of his,” Choudhrie added.