Amrita Sher-Gil: an Indian artist family of the twentieth century. Munich: Schirmer/Mosel.
A book, beginning with a brief biography of Sher-Gil and a description of her contributions to the artistic world in India, followed by photographs of the Sher-Gil family and prints of Amrita’s work.
Archer, W.G. 1959. India and Modern Art. London: Allen & Unwin.
Bethlenfalvy, Géza. “Amrita Sher-Gil: A Painter of Two Continents.” Hungarian Quarterly 52, no. 201 (Spring 2011): 87.
Journal article that covers briefly Sher-Gil’s life and influences. Bethlenfalvy discusses Amrita’s family members, emphasizing their influence on Sher-Gil and her work. The article traces her childhood artistic development and the places in which she lived. It features excerpts from letters in which she discusses her influences. Bethlenfalvy also discusses her recognition, during and after her lifetime, and surviving photographs, archives, and books that document the lives of Sher-Gil and her family.
Brown, Judith. “Geographies of Gender and Modernism.” Journal of Modern Literature 33, no. 3 (2010): 142–49. doi:10.2979/jml.2010.33.3.142.
Scholarly article that discusses briefly Amrita Sher-Gil’s struggles on the boundaries of race, nationality and sexuality and how she expressed these through her art and changed the idea of modernism.
Chakrabarty, Ananda Shankar. “Primitivism Redux: The Other Face of Indian Modernism.” Third Text 23, no. 2 (2009): 209–11.
A scholarly article discussing a longer work about primitivism and modernism in the work of non-western artists. The article briefly covers Sher-Gil’s reinvention of Western modernist techniques as she applies them to her subject matter of rural India.
Dalmia, Yashodhara. Amrita Sher-Gil: A Life. Penguin Viking, 2006.
A relatively recent biography of Amrita Sher-Gil that attempts to document her personal life and artistic development. Kalmia follows her childhood in Budapest, her studies and city life in France, and her artistic peak that began with her move to India in 1933. The book explores her personal life and relationships. It also traces her artistic development throughout her life: her early artistic encouragement, the instruction and influences she received at the Écoles de Beaux Arts in France, and the flourishing of Sher-Gil’s work in India, where she drew inspiration from ancient Indian works, the lives of the poor, and natural influence. Dalmia also covers her struggles as an artist with self-doubt and poor reception, and her death and posthumous recognition. The book provides various letters that give insight into Sher-Gil’s life and work as well as pictures.
Gupta Singh, Amrita. “A Paean to the Pioneers.” Art India 16, no. 2 (2011): 34–36.
A review that discusses the early modernists of India and their expression of the “political ruralism” of the time. The article discusses the position of Amrita Sher-Gil within the male-dominated art scene. It discusses Sher-Gil’s attention to simplicity of form, referring to it as a sort of “new primitivism.” The article also discusses the points of view of more contemporary artists and how the previous generation of avant-garde modernists influenced them.
Herwitz, Daniel. “Reclaiming the Past and Early Modern Indian Art.” Third Text no. 68 (2004): 213–28.
A scholarly essay discussing modernism and modernity as it relates to India and colonialism. Herewitz discusses the way in which a non-white, indigenous, or otherwise marginalized identity affects an artist in the world of modern art and era of colonialism. The essay describes the history of India’s colonialism during the modern period and examines the growth of modernity in India. Herwitz examines Sher-Gil’s relationship with India, analyzing her attention to Western technique and her complex identity.
Kapur, Geeta. When Was Modernism : Essays on Contemporary Cultural Practice in India. New Delhi : Tulika, 2000., 2000.
A book of essays concerning the development of modernism in India. Sher-Gil is mainly discussed in the essay “Body as Gesture.” Kapur points to Sher-Gil as one of the founders of modernism in India and the way that her “inadvertent ‘feminization’” (p. 4) of Indian modernism defines other Indian artists. The book compares Sher-Gil with Frida Kahlo in that both artists contributed to a feminist nationalism that points to the indigenous woman as the embodiment of nation. Kapur also discusses the way that Sher-Gil’s half-Indian, half-European identity expresses itself through her work, as well as her nontraditional use of oil painting with Indian subjects. Kapur examines how Sher-Gil approached the subject of the sexuality and identity of Indian women in her work and how the work of later Indian artists displays the influence of Sher-Gil and her contemporaries.
Mathur, Saloni. “A Retake of Sher-Gil’s Self-Portrait as Tahitian.” Critical Inquiry 37, no. 3 (March 1, 2011): 515–44. doi:10.1086/659356.
Scholarly article that attempts to analyze and understand one of Sher-Gil’s self portraits. The article discusses the time and place in which the portrait was painted, and its place in the context of her other work at this time. It examines the portrait’s expression of themes such as the male artistic gaze and the female nude as well as primitivism and fetishization of the exotic female. Mathur also discusses how these ideas as expressed in the portrait relate to Sher-Gil personally: her difficulty coming to terms with her own mixed identity, as well as her struggles as a female in the Parisian art scene and her place within the exotic fixation of Gauguin and other European artists and socialites.
Milford-Lutzker, Mary-Ann. “Shakti: The Power of Women’s Art in India.” Orientations 34, no. 6 (June 2002): 37–41.
Article discussing female art in India. The article discusses Sher-Gil’s artistic mission to express the situation of the Indian woman and the influence of her work in India in paving the way for other female artists. Lutzker examines the way that the impact of Sher-Gil’s work can be seen in the work of India’s later women artists.
Raman, A. S. “ART IN INDIA TODAY.” East and West 3, no. 1 (1952): 21–28.
Scholarly article from 1952 on the influences of Indian art during this time. Shea-Gil is discussed in connection with the Western influence of modernism in India and her way of adapting modernist technique to Indian subjects and traditions. She is also compared to other Indian artists who have drawn from Western influence.
Singh, N Iqbal. “Amrita Sher-Gil.” India International Centre Quarterly 2, no. 3 (1975): 209–17.
Discussion of Sher-Gil’s contribution to the revitalization of Indian art and her thoughts about the Bengal school and the imitators of the Ajanta paintings. Singh then gives a biography of Sher-Gil, which chronicles her various homes, schools, drawing instructors, and influences. Singh then discusses the shift in her artistic focus to India and its poor, and the Indian artistic pieces that influenced her work, followed by her marriage, estrangement from her parents, and death. Singh also describes his personal encounters with Sher-Gil and the impression she made upon him.
Sher-Gil, Amrita, and Vivan Sundaram. Amrita Sher-Gil : A Self-Portrait in Letters & Writings. New Delhi : Tulika Books, 2010., 2010.
A collection of Sher-Gil’s letters to family, friends, etc concerning her personal life and artistic activity. The book includes notes explaining Sher-Gil’s comments and references and photographs and paintings.
Sundaram, Vivan. 1972. Amrita Sher-Gil; essays.Bombay: Marg Publications; sole distributors: India Book Centre, New Delhi.
Book beginning with a biography of Amrita Sher-Gil, including many pictures of her and her family, personal quotes, diary entries, and early drawings and paintings. The book includes prints of her works, followed by a critical essay by Geeta Kapur discussing the way in which Sher-Gil’s subject matter and her attitude towards it changed. Kapur chronicles the beginning of the work for which she is best known, her paintings of the poor of India, then discusses a shift in to depicting these subjects in what Kaput argues is a more realistic manner. The second essay discusses how Sher-Gil overcame what many saw as irreconcilable differences between traditional Indian art and Western modernism to incorporate both parts of her background into her work. The third essay explores Sher-Gil’s move to India and the dilemma between the formalism and emotional expressionism of her art and the relationship of this dichotomy with Sher-Gil’s confused nationality and identity. The remainder of the book contains letters and diary entries written by Amrita Sher-Gil that give insight into her personal and artistic life.
Sundaram, Vivan, and Peter A. Nagy. 'The Sher-Gil Archive.' Grand Street, no. 62 (1997): 68-73.
An archive in book form of photographs and prints collected by Sher-Gil’s nephew. The book provides an introductory biography and discussion of Sher-Gil’s artistic development. The remainder of the book consists of a collection of photographs of Sher-Gil with family, friends, and work. Sundaram includes prints of Sher-Gil’s paintings including arrangements of photographs juxtaposed with her work. Also included are excerpts from Sher-Gil’s comments on her work and life.
Tillotson, G.H.R. 'A Painter of Concern: Critical Writings on Amrita Sher-Gil.' India International Centre Quarterly 24, no. 4 (1997): 57-72.http://www.jstor.org/stable/23002294
Critical article evaluating Sher-Gil’s work and ideas about form and expression in art. The article explores the subject matter of Sher-Gil’s paintings of Indian poverty as the expression of her concern for the position of India’s lower classes. Tillotson continues by discussing the tension between abstract formalism and expression in Sher-Gil’s art and the struggles that critics have had with understanding and accepting this dichotomy. The article draws attention to the fact that Sher-Gil attempted to express her human concern through formalism, far from finding these two mutually exclusive. It then discusses how Sher-Gil achieves this in two of her best-known works, Hill Men and Hill Women.