Husain – after going through a period of poverty and near starvation – realised the importance of publicity.
Very little is known about Husian’s art. He himself is more known than his art. Husain did everything possible to boost, not his paintings, but himself. His entry into Wellingdon Club without shoes was widely reported. He had gone there barefoot.
Then he angered the Vishwa Hindu Parishad by drawing Bharatmata nude. What emanated from that painting was innocence but VHP saw it in a different way. Husain, a Muslim, had hurt Hindu sentiments. The VHP smashed his exhibition in Gujarat. There was a threat to his life. There were cases against him.
There were juicy stories about him: In Europe he was enamoured by a girl. He gave her the entire money which his paintings fetched.
Husain made news when he decided to settle abroad. He must have been quite happy there, but he talked about how he was yearning to eat kulfi in India.
Husain, the man and not the artist is remembered.
Another artist who has made good and who seems to be quite pragmatic about managing his earnings is S.H. Raza. It must be said that Raza is more known for his art. The ‘bindu’ concept was a big hit. He made various versions of the same theme. The paintings ‘Bindu’ are more known than Raza, the man.
What about Picasso? He is known to have developed ingenious ways to promote himself and his art. It said he appointed two persons to do his publicity work – one for praising him and his works and other criticise him and his works. I think Picasso is more known than his paintings.