Amrita Sher-Gil


Amrita was the child of a Sikh father and a Hungarian Jewish mother. She was born on 30th January in Budapest, Hungary. Her father was Umrao Singh Sher-Gil, a Sikh aristocrat and a scholar in Sanskrit and Persian. Her mother was Marie Antoniette Gottesmann, A Jewish Opera Singer from Hungary. Most of her childhood was spent in Budapest and was the niece of Indologist Ervin Baktay. At her childhood, Amrita Sher-Gil was guided and critiqued for her work by Indologist Ervin Baktay and he also provided Amrita the right to create the academic foundation and to grow on. Amrita used to model her servant in her initial days.           

Amrita’s family returned to Summer Hill, Shimla, India in 1921. After coming in India she started learning piano and violin. At the age of nine, Amrita started performing in several concerts along with her younger sister Indira. She performed in several concerts in Shimla's Gaiety Theatre at Mall Road. Along with piano and violin she was also practicing painting from her childhood. She started undertaking the painting lessons at the age of eight.

Amrita Sher-Gil was a renowned, popular Indian painter. She has been nicknamed as ‘The Frida Kahlo’ of India for having set a yardstick for the painters of India. As an eminent 20th century painter, Sher-Gill’s legacy stands at par with that of the Masters of Bengal Renaissance; she is also the 'most expensive' woman painter of India.

Education & Work

Amrita was just 16 years old when she sailed for Europe. She was accompanied by her mother and there she started her painting trainings at Paris, France. She was one of the fortunate who was trained at Grande Chaumiere Art School under Pierre Vaillant and Lucien Simon. Later she got painting training from École des Beaux-Arts. She was inspired from lots of European painters and she started following the footstep. She drew inspirations from famous painters like Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin. Later we can see the effect of European paintings as well.

Amrita’s and her early paintings used to display the prominent inspirations of western culture and heritage along with western modes. She has been practiced along with the Bohemiansof Paris in 1930s.

Amrita’s first important work known as ‘Young Girls’ was released in 1932, this work has led her for one of the election contestants for Paris  Associate of Grand Salon in 1933. She was the first youngest Asian to have received this recognition.

In1937, Amrita Sher-Gil visited southern part of India and there she created famous South Indian painting trilogy namely ‘Bride's Toilet’, South Indian Villagers Going to Market and Brahmacharis. She also visited Ajanta caves and that visit inspired her to get into the Indian tradition and after that she made her constant decision to start her journey to classical Indian Art. The most important part in her creations are the passion for colors and she also had enough compassion for Indian subjects. She was often attracted towards Indian people who are despair and she was famous for depicting them in their poverty.

Amrita used to stay in Saraya and she has painted the Village Scene, which became very popular later. She was one of the best artists who have portrayed rural India in such great way. She made her experimentations with miniature school of painting and it reflected in her ‘Village Scene’ painting and it has reflected in her ‘PahariSchool of painting’. Amrita is one of painters who have travelled entire India and has experimented with all her creativities.

In 1941 Amrita shifted to Lahore and there she has painted at 23 Ganga Ram Mansions. She was having her studio and it was located on the top floor in the townhouse.

Awards and Accolades

Amrita has been felicitate with lots of awards and accolades throughout her life and more over she has received lots of love and respects from her audience globally.

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