“Amrita Sher-Gil: A Life”, book release and talk at the Residence of France, 30 January 2013 [fr]

“Amrita Sher-Gil: A Life” by Yashodhara Dalmia, book release and talk at the Residence of France, wednesday, 30th January 2013

Bonjour India 2013 and India Art Fair celebrated the birth centenary of Amrita Sher-Gil with the launch of the Penguin paperback edition of “Amrita Sher-Gil: A Life” by noted art historian and critic Yashodara
Dalmia. This was preceded by a talk by Ms Dalmia, who traced the journey of Amrita Sher-Gil in India,where her work rose to its peak. The considerable interaction between French and Indian art is also
exemplified in Amrita Sher-Gil‘s trailblazing work, which influenced and inspired the trajectory of the modern art movement in India.

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Amrita Sher-Gil
A Life
Yashodhara Dalmia

Amrita Sher-Gil:
Sher-Gil’s s journey can be traced from her training in Paris to its triumphant culmination in India where she invents the course of modern art and influences generations of artists. Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941) was born in Budapest of a Sikh father and a Hungarian mother. As a young girl in Paris, Sher-Gil learnt about the basics of art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, the premier art institute of the period. She lived life to the hilt in the cafés and streets of the famous city, participating in its bohemian style and liberating manners. Despite her colourful life, Sher-Gil decided to return to India in 1934, determined to root herself in the country where she felt she belonged. It is interesting to note that an early modernist artist like Amrita Sher-Gil chose to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, but her training inspired her to be rooted in India and create works incorporating Indian aesthetic traditions. In a letter to her father Umrao Singh, from Paris, she stated that had it not been for her exposure to Indian art at the Musée Guimet, she would never have appreciated India’s classical and pictorial depths. During a short and dramatic life, the highly gifted and flamboyant artist produced a series of vivid portraits of Indian village life and is acknowledged as a pioneer of modern Indian art. She died in 1941, aged 28.

Yashodhara Dalmia is an art historian and independent curator based in New Delhi. Her book The Making of Modern Indian Art: the Progressives is regarded as a definitive account of a seminal phase of Indian art. She has also authored Journeys: Four Generations of Indian Artists (2011), as well as numerous essays, articles and reviews on contemporary Indian art. Her biography of Amrita Sher-Gil paints a compelling portrait of the artist who left behind a body of work that establishes her as one of the foremost artists of the century and an eloquent symbol of the fusion between the East and the West. When the National Gallery of Modern Art opened in Mumbai in December 1996, Dalmia curated the inaugural exhibition titled The Moderns, which featured 200 works by twelve greats of modern Indian art, including Francis Newton Souza, M.F. Husain and Tyeb Mehta. In September 2010, Dalmia curated a major show of contemporary Indian artists titled Indian (Sub) Wayat at the Grosvenor Vadehra gallery in London. In January 2011, she curated the show Tyeb Mehta: Triumph of Vision in Delhi, which consisted of previously unseen paintings by the artist, including his magnificent last work. She is currently working on a project on South Asian art.

India Art Fair is India’s premier modern and contemporary art fair. Currently into its fifth edition, it will run from 1-3 February 2013, with a VIP Preview by invitation on 31 January. At a time when the global economy and the art market in particular, are faced with a challenging business environment, India Art Fair continues to focus on providing a platform for spreading deeper awareness of and creating wider access to art in India. Approximately 105 exhibitors from 24 countries will participate in the general exhibition area and solo projects. It will also include a video lounge, an art bookstore, art projects and a Speakers’ Forum with over 40 eminent speakers. India Art Fair has been visited by 260,000 people from over 60 cities over its four previous editions. This edition of the fair will take place in the heart of South Delhi, inside a custombuilt tent spanning more than 20,000 sq. metres designed by the noted Indian space designer, Sumant Jayakrishnan.

Bonjour India is the festival of France in India covering all aspects of artistic creation, in a reflection of the significance of the cultural and artistic aspects of the friendship between the two countries. This is the second edition of this festival, which was crowned with great success in its maiden version in 2009. Travelling to 15 Indian cities, Bonjour India 2013 will feature around 150 events involving over 300 artists and experts. For up-to-date presentations of the programmes and activities, please log on to www.bonjour-india.in.

Institut Francais en Inde
(www.institutfrancais.in) is the cultural arm of the French Embassy in India, working in close coordination with the Alliance Française network. It came into existence on 1st January 2011, replacing the French Information Resource Centre, your window to France from India. By establishing the Institut Français, the French government gave one umbrella institute the mandate to promote French cultural action overseas, covering artistic exchanges, the promotion of the French language, French thought and ideas through the printed word or the audio-visual medium, and French know-how through student, academic, researcher and scientific exchanges. The Institut Français en Inde facilitates Indo-French exchanges through country festivals encompassing varied events at regular intervals so that the people of our countries can get to know each other better, share and learn from each other.

Last modified on 30/05/2014

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