Tuesday, December 2, 2008

M.F.Husain's works "have survived" Taj Hotel siege

Contrary to the widely circulated news report covered by Express India and numerous other Asian media outlets (including, surprisingly enough, Taj Hotel owners, Tata Group, which reported it here), the three large paintings by Indian modernist M.F.Husain which have hung in the hotel's lobby since 2000, may not have been destroyed after all.

This morning I spoke with a leading Mumbai-based art consultant (indeed a member of the original team that catalogued the Taj collection in 2003) who confirmed off the record that the Husain works in question did survive last week's terrorist attack.

Requesting anonymity, he said it was too early to assess the precise extent of the damage to other works in the collection but given the circumstances of the siege some damage was "inevitable".

The news that his lobby paintings have emerged unscathed will doubtless be welcomed by 93 year-old M.F.Husain who, according to the same reports cited above, was preparing to paint a fresh series to replace those "destroyed" in the attack.

More on this over the next few days.

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