Today, Google has honoured legendary Indian painter Amrita Sher-Gil on her 103rd birth anniversary. The doodle reflects Amrita’s painting ‘The Three Girls’. It shows three girls in colourful clothes contemplating their destinies. The doodle is reflected on Google’s homepages in India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Iceland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, and Lithuania.
It was painted in 1935 and is her first work after she returned to India.
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Here are five things you should know about Amrita Sher-Gil.
1. Her childhood was spent in Budapest
Photo source: Wikimedia
Amrita Sher-Gil was born in to a Punjabi Sikh father and a Hungarian Jewish mother in 1913. Amrita spent her early years in Budapest and had an interest in art since childhood. She started painting the servants in her house, by getting them to model for her. Amrita and her family moved to Shimla in 1921. She spent her time here getting introduced to art through an Italian sculptor.
2. She lived in Paris and developed European sensibilities
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Amrita set off to Europe when she was a 16-year-old. In Paris, she studies art at the Grande Chaumiere under Pierre Vaillant and Lucien Simon. She later enrolled in the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, where she studied from 1930 to 1934. Her early paintings reflect a lot of Western influences.
3. Her love affair with India began in 1934
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After spending time in Paris, Amrita yearned to come back to India. She returned in 1934. After her return, her painting style also underwent a dramatic change. The colours, the vibrancy, and earthiness of the people had an impact on the young artist and it slowly started making way into her work.
4. Southern India inspired her to create a trilogy of paintings
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In 1937, Amrita explored southern India. It is after this trip that she produced the famous South Indian paintings – Bride’s Toilet, Brahmacharis, and South Indian Villagers Going to Market. These paintings reflect a sense of empathy that she felt for her Indian subjects. She has been quoted as saying,” I can only paint in India. Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse…India belongs only to me.”
5. She’s influenced generations of Indian painters
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Amrita has a rich legacy. The Government of India declared her works as National Art Treasures and most of them can be found at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi. Amrita Shergill Marg in New Delhi is named after her and a stamp, depicting her painting ‘Hill Women’, was released by India Post. She is also the inspiration behind the famous Urdu play – Tumhari Amrita.
Amrita passed away in Lahore, then in undivided India, on December 6, 1941. However, her legacy still lives on.