After Dubai, New York City became a second home for celebrated Indian painter M.F. Husain, who was described by the Indian Americans here as a genius and master of colours who took Indian contemporary art to new places.

The artist, who died on Thursday, was often seen at Tamarind Art Gallery in Manhattan where he held his painting exhibitions due to his close rapport with the founder of the gallery and businessman Kent Charugundla.

“Husain was first and foremost a great painter, the ’Picasso of India’, a genius who took Indian contemporary art to new places, and spearheaded the progressive art movement of India,” Charugundla said.

Forbes called him “Picasso of India” in Dec 2006.

The passing of Husain is a great loss to the world of contemporary and modern art, said Charugundla, a native of Andhra Pradesh, on his way to catch a flight to London to have a last glimpse of the face who he held in high esteem.

“It is also a great loss to me personally, my wife Marguerite and our children.

“Every time I travelled with him either to Kolkata or to Mumbai, the stories he shared with me were memorable,” he recalled.

“He took me to a location to show me a painting he had done some time ago, on the wall of the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai and narrated a story of 1940s, much before India became free.

“At that time he wasn’t allowed to enter the grounds because he was Indian and the grounds were only for the British. “So Husain said he watched the game from a hole in a side gate.

“He told me that as a young man he was angry that this was his land and his country and who were these invaders to tell him that he could not get in, this immensely affected his life and it pushed him to aggressively painting and expressed his anger and dissatisfaction on the evils of the society. “He was not only a great painter but a good storyteller,” he said.

Malini Shah, only Indian-American advisor on the board of Queens Museum of Art described Husain as a legendary painter.

She said Husain was a master of colour and lines and got inspired by Hindu temple art and Cubism.

His paintings could be anything but his favourite subject was woman as a giver of life and love, she said.

He respected women and will forever be India’s greatest artist of all times, she said.

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