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STUDIO: Amrita Sher-Gil

Three Girls, by Amrita Sher-Gil
Oil on canvas, 36.5 x 26.2 in, 1935

Suchismita Ukil  

Born to a Hungarian mother and an Indian Sikh father, Amrita Sher-Gil (1913--1941) was a curious mix of the east and the west. Growing up in Budapest and Shimla, she studied fine arts in Paris and was influenced by the European post-Impressionists. Her style evolved and matured, and her colour palette drastically changed (from Parisian blues to earthy reds and browns) after moving back to India in 1934, visiting the Ajanta caves and drawing inspiration from the miniature paintings.

This is one of her later works, done soon after she returned to India, and depicts three young girls, sitting together, yet isolated and despondent, awaiting their fate. Noted art historian Yashodhara Dalmia in her biography of the artist, Amrita Sher-Gil: A Life, states: "Amrita's women were those who were aware of their forlorn fate but also knew they were capable of transcending it."

Sometimes lauded as India's Frida Kahlo, an unfair tag as both are incomparable in their own right, Sher-Gil was truly an artist ahead of her times.

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