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Secrets M F Husain shared with the DLF chief

Last updated on: July 12, 2011 10:22 IST

Secrets M F Husain shared with the DLF chief

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BS Reporter in New Delhi

Legendary artist Maqbool Fida Husain, who passed away recently, was an employee at the real estate firm DLF at a starting salary of Rs 800 in the 1960s.

DLF chairman KP Singh, who has dedicated the company's annual report for 2010-11 to Husain, has said, "He was happy with the monthly salary of Rs 800."

The artist made a range of paintings for Singh from the mid-1960s to the late 80s.

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Image: Maqbool Fida Husain at work.
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons.
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Secrets M F Husain shared with the DLF chief

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Although Husain had asked for a Rs 600 loan from Singh, who had met the painter during a train journey, he got a job instead at DLF "to do some paintings".

"We would provide him the paint and material he wanted and he would paint when he felt like it."

In 1986, DLF elevated Husain to the position of Art Advisor at a salary of Rs 2,500 a month, plus accommodation.

"He had not asked for a raise, but I felt he deserved it, since he was producing such wonderful paintings," Singh has said in the foreword to the annual report of the company.

He stayed with DLF till 1993.

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Image: A visitor looks at a painting by M F Husain.
Photographs: Punit/Reuters
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Secrets M F Husain shared with the DLF chief

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Once when Singh asked Husain if he needed DLF's help in filing tax returns, the artist asked, "What is a tax return?"

When Singh explained, Husain's reply was that the taxman would never come knocking on his door, as he did not make that kind of money.

Much later, when Husain had become an international celebrity, Singh asked the artist how he kept track of his wealth.

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Image: M F Husain examines one of his paintings in Raan bar in London, England.
Photographs: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
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Secrets M F Husain shared with the DLF chief

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Husain told the DLF chairman that he recorded all the money transactions in a pocket diary, adding that he kept a count of it "in his head".

Singh met Husain last year in Dubai. "He came all the way from Qatar just to meet me, picked me up from my hotel in his Bentley and drove me to his museum in Dubai."

When asked about the secret behind his youthfulness, Husain had told Singh that for many years, he only ate half of what he felt like eating.


Image: Raan bar at the O2 Arena in London boasts three of Husain's paintings.
Photographs: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
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