Amrita Sher-Gil

A Self-Portrait in Letters and Writings [two-volume cased set]

Edited by Vivan Sundaram. Foreword by Salman Rushdie

Tulika Books

Amrita Sher-Gil

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Pub Date: February 2010

ISBN: 9788189487591

866 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $250.00£208.95

Amrita Sher-Gil

A Self-Portrait in Letters and Writings [two-volume cased set]

Edited by Vivan Sundaram. Foreword by Salman Rushdie

Tulika Books

This self-portrait of the iconic Indian painter Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–1941) represents more than a life. For this book in two volumes, Amrita's extant letters and writings are translated and reproduced from the originals in their entirety. The book draws on the primary text of these letters to open up a visual narrative around the artist's oeuvre, complemented by a parallel text of notes that not only annotate but also entangle the personal in the web of contemporaneity. The editorial intervention expands the setting to include the artist's voice, photographs from the Sher-Gil family album, a collation of reviews from contemporary art critics, and excerpts from autobiographies and testimonies that touched Amrita's life. There are full-colour reproductions of 147 paintings by the artist, representing the largest such collection in print, as well as of her early sketches and watercolors. This archival effort makes for a definitive volume on the life, art and writings of Amrita Sher-Gil.

The book includes a foreword by Salman Rushdie; a prologue and an epilogue by Vivan Sundaram; a complete list of Amrita Sher-Gil's 172 known oil paintings with thumbnail sketches and detailed captions; and a select bibliography of writings by and on Amrita Sher-Gil.
To read Amrita is to fall in her thrall, to be seduced, and swept away by her… Vivan Sundaram needs to be congratulated on his wise decision to step back and not interfere with the dialogue between Amrita and her rapt audience… What he does is provide judicious, meticulously researched cross-refrences that further illumines what we are reading. Vivan renders himself invisible and foregrounds Amrita. And in this lies the strength of these invaluable volumes.If ever there was a Michelin rating for literary work like this one gets ten stars! Delicious! Sunil Mehra, Take on Art
There is no doubt that the book will enjoy a special place for feminist scholars. Not only are Amrita's paintings strongly woman-centered but she herself emerges as a proto-feminist who thinks and lives independently and whose sense of the 'feminine' militates against conventional notions (of) 'femininity'. This breathtaking book of fascinating journeys is a 'must read'. Shohini Ghosh, Biblio
This lovingly-crafted anthology of letters and paintings, put together by her nephew, artist and scholar Vivan Sundaram, is the first body of work that gives Amrita Sher-Gil back her voice. Even after all this disclosure, Sher-Gil herself remains the enigma that she was. But finally, we have a reasonably good view of te legendary artist as a three-dimensional human being. Bibek Bhattacharya, Business Today

About the Author

Vivan Sundaram was born in Shimla in 1943. He studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda, Vadodara, and the Slade School of Fine Art, London, in the 1960s. He returned to India in 1970 and continued painting. Since 1990 he has turned to making artworks as sculpture, installation, photography, and video. These works have been widely exhibited nationally and internationally. He has also organized artists' workshops, curated exhibitions and done public art projects. A member of the Sher-Gil family, Vivan Sundaram has been engaged with the Sher-Gil project for over thirty years as artist, curator, editor, and archivist. The Sher-Gil Family, a painting made in 1983-84, and The Sher-Gil Archive, an installation made in 1995, are precursors to his Re-take of 'Amrita', a series of digital photomontages made in 2001.