LEAN AND FRAGILE WOMEN, BY SAD LOOKING – Amrita Sher Gil: unbridled and bold colours, in direct contrast to the pale hues

1AMRITA SHER GIL 1/3 – She was an Indian painter born to a Punjabi Sikh father and a Hungarian Jewish mother (sometimes known as India’s Frida Kahlo). An exceptional colourist, she was able to achieve special effects with colours that were unbridled and bold, in direct contrast to the pale hues in vogue among her contemporaries. Today she is considered an important woman painter of 20th century India. Sher-Gil was the elder of two daughters born. By age nine she along with her younger sister Indira were giving concerts. In 1923, her sister came to know an Italian sculptor, and when he returned to Italy, she too moved to Italy along with Amrita and got her enrolled at Santa Annunziata, an art school at Florence.12

AMRITA SHER GIL 2/3 – Though Amrita didn’t stay at this school for long, and returned to India in 1924. At sixteen, she sailed to Europe with her mother to train as a painter at Paris. Her early paintings display a significant influence of the Western modes of painting. In 1937, she toured South India, and produced the famous South Indian trilogy of paintings. Sher-Gil’s art has influenced generations of Indian artists. These paintings reveal her passionate sense of colour, and an equally passionate empathy for her Indian subjects (who are often depicted in their poverty and despair).20

AMRITA SHER GIL 3/3 – She was very much influenced by the Pahari and miniature schools of painting which is evident from her works (such as In the Ladies, Enclosure and the Village Scene). Her last unfinished works reveal a move toward abstraction and incorporate colours, even richer than those seen in her previous pieces. In 1941, she became seriously ill and slipped into a coma. She later died around midnight on 6 December day (a failed abortion and subsequent peritonitis have been suggested as possible causes for her death). She was cremated on the day after, at Lahore.a.MB logo

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