M.F. Husain was many things: curious boy from Pandharpur, painter of billboards, maker of toys, aesthete, the inveterate progressive artist he soon became, and later film-maker and style icon who walked about barefoot with a long brush in hand. A legend, in short. Six years after first seeing him on a rainy day outside the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, Ila Pal met the star painter for the first time in 1961. It was the beginning of a long and enriching association between an eager student of art and M.F. Husain – a journey that lasted fifty years. This book is a product of that intimate relationship. Filled with anecdotes about his charisma, his sharp wit, his sense of wonder about the world at large and his insatiable hunger for love, this warm and personalised biography traces his evolution through his many avatars. It attempts to unravel the enigma of M.F., who is considered the master of contemporary Indian art, and the auctions of whose works at Christie's and Sotheby's changed the Indian art market forever. It also delves into the artist's exile from his homeland at the fag end of his life, exploring the question of creative licence in a climate where people's sentiments are easily hurt and where censorship rules the roost like never before. Husain: Portrait of an Artist gives us an up close and personal look at the life of a great painter who was hated and admired by millions alike – the one and only Maqbool Fida Husain.