Sumair by Amrita Sher-Gil (1936)
Brahmcharis by Amrita Sher-Gil (1940-41)
Bride’s Toilet by Amrita Sher-Gil (1937)
While living in Delhi for nearly a decade from 1989 and often driving on the Amrita Sher-Gil Marg, not to mention being fully aware of her formidable talent as a painter, I never bothered to view her paintings at the National Gallery of Modern Art. I am discovering her now courtesy of the Google Art Project.
Looking at these three random works, one is not surprised at Sher-Gil’s enormous reputation. I intend to write about her in greater detail some day but for today it is enough to highlight these three works. In all three, the faces—be it that of one of her lovely cousins Sumair or the Brahmcharis or the Bride—they all have a certain inscrutability about them. Sher-Gil (1913-1941) was half Sikh from the father’s side and half Hungarian Jewish from the mother’s side. Notwithstanding her early death, she produced a body of work regarded as a defining influence on the successive Indian artists. Sumair’s proportions are fabulous. More later.