Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Amrita Sher-Gil – The India’s Frida Kahlo

20th century

Amrita Sher-Gil – The India’s Frida Kahlo

Amrita Sher-Gil had a short life, but her oeuvre is very rich. She is considered to be an important painter of 20th-century India, and sometimes people call her India’s Frida Kahlo.

Amrita Sher-Gil

Amrita Sher-Gil

She was born on 30 January 1913 in Budapest, Hungary. Her father was a Sikh aristocrat and a scholar in Sanskrit and Persian, her mother was Marie Antoinette Gottesmann, a Hungarian-Jewish opera singer.

She spent most of early childhood in Budapest but in 1921, her family moved to Summer Hill, Shimla in India where she received a good education. She was already painting since the age of five she formally started learning painting at age eight.


At sixteen, Sher-Gil sailed to Europe with her mother to train as a painter at Paris, first at the Grande Chaumiere under Pierre Vaillant and Lucien Simon and later at École des Beaux-Arts. She was inspired by European painters such as Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin.

Amrita Sher-Gil, Young Girls, 1932, NGMA Mumbai

Amrita Sher-Gil, Young Girls, 1932, NGMA Mumbai

In 1932, she made her first important work, Young Girls, which led to her election as an Associate of the Grand Salon in Paris in 1933, making her the youngest ever and the only Asian to have received this recognition.

Klarra Szepessy, by Amrita Sher-Gil, 1932, NGMA Mumbai

Klarra Szepessy, by Amrita Sher-Gil, 1932, NGMA Mumbai


But when she stayed in Europe in 1934,  she “began to be haunted by an intense longing to return to India […] feeling in some strange way that there lay my destiny as a painter”. She began a quest for the rediscovery of the traditions of Indian art. Later she wrote to her friend: “I can only paint in India. Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse, Braque… India belongs only to me”

Amrita Sher-Gil, South Indian Villagers Going to Market, 1937, From the Collection of: Vivan and Navina Sundaram, New Delhi

Amrita Sher-Gil, South Indian Villagers Going to Market, 1937, From the Collection of Vivan and Navina Sundaram, New Delhi

Sher-Gil married her Hungarian first cousin, Dr. Victor Egan in 1938 and moved with him to India to stay at her paternal family’s home in Saraya in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Amrita Sher-Gil, Bride's Toilet, 1937, NGMA Mumbai

Amrita Sher-Gil, Bride’s Toilet, 1937, NGMA Mumbai


In Saraya she painted leisurely rhythms of life in rural India. Although acclaimed by art critics Karl Khandalavala in Bombay and Charles Fabri in Lahore as the greatest painter of the century, Amrita’s paintings found few buyers.

Amrita Sher-Gil, Three Girls, 1935, NGMA Mumbai

Amrita Sher-Gil, Three Girls, 1935, NGMA Mumbai

In 1941, just days before the opening of her first major solo exhibition in Lahore, she became seriously ill and slipped into a coma. She died around midnight on 6 December 1941. The reason for her death is still unknown – some suggested a failed abortion and subsequent peritonitis. Her mother accused her doctor husband Victor of having murdered her but on the day after her death Britain declared war on Hungary and Victor was sent to jail as a national enemy.

Find out more:

     


Art Historian, founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

Comments

More in 20th century

  • 20th century

    Painting of the Week: Robert Delaunay, The Red Tower

    By

    When people speak of Paris, images of Notre-Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and Musée du Louvre flash into the imagination. And for good reason, as they are absolute must-see sites. Fresh croissants, fabulous chocolate, and fine perfume fill the senses with pleasure as you peruse this lovely...

  • Abstraction

    An Andalusian Dog – Surrealist Film of Dalí and Buñuel

    By

    Quarantine is already distressing us, but An Andalusian Dog is always a good tip. Above all, the movie and Surrealism, show us how art can ease harsh realities and yet be real. The Surrealist Movement and the Cinema An Andalusian Dog belongs to the Surrealist movement which...

  • Zaretskyi Self-portrait Zaretskyi Self-portrait

    20th century

    Viktor Zaretsky: The Oeuvre of the Ukrainian Gustav Klimt

    By

    Viktor Zaretsky is often called the Ukrainian Gustav Klimt. In fact, the influence of Klimt on the artworks of this Ukrainian artist is quite obvious. However, this does not mean that he just copied the works of the Austrian. Zaretsky developed his own artistic language, which...

  • Vincent Van Gogh, The Sower, 1888 Vincent Van Gogh, The Sower, 1888

    19th Century

    Vincent van Gogh Copying Other Artists

    By

    Vincent van Gogh is famous nowadays for two things. Firstly, his unstoppable creativity – he produced 2,100 artworks in just over a decade. And, secondly, his struggles with his mental health. The famous ear incident was the catalyst for him admitting himself into the Saint-Remy Asylum,...

  • 20th century

    The Art of Adolf Hitler: Idyllic Paintings of a Monster

    By

    Adolf Hitler is one of history’s most infamous dictators. After coming to power as Führer of Nazi Germany, he and his followers were responsible for the deaths of millions, not to mention the world’s greatest mass theft and destruction of priceless artworks. However, what you may...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy