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Amrita Sher-Gil: A Self-Portrait in Letters and Writings, (In 2 Volumes)

Vivan Sundaram (Editor)

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, and 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 watercolours. This archival effort makes for a definitive volume on the life, art and writings of Amrita Sher-Gil.

The book has 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.

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About the author

Vivan Sundaram

Vivan Sundaram was born in Shimla in 1943. He studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda, and at The Slade School, London, in the 1960s. He returned to India in 1970 and continued his painting. Since 1990 he has turned to making artworks as sculpture, installation, photography and video. Vivan, himself a member of the Sher-Gil family, has been engaged with the Sher-Gil project over a thirty-year period, as curator, editor, archivist. The Sher-Gil Family, a six by-eight-foot painting made in 1983-84, and The Sher-Gil Archive, an installation made in 1995, are precursors of the present work. RE-take of ‘Amrita’, a series of digital photomontages made in 2001, has been exhibited in museums and galleries in India and abroad. Vivan has also collaborated with Kumar Shahani on the script for a proposed film on Amrita Sher-Gil. Vivan Sundaram has exhibited widely nationally and internationally, organized artists’ workshops, curated exhibitions, and done public art projects. He is an active member of SAHMAT, a cultural-activist group based in Delhi. He lives in Delhi and is married to the artwriter Geeta Kapur.

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Bibliographic information

Title Amrita Sher-Gil: A Self-Portrait in Letters and Writings, (In 2 Volumes)
Format Hardcover
Date published: 07.04.2010
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Tulika Books
Language: English
isbn 8189487591, 9788189487591
length xiii+417p+404p., Colour Pictures; Index; 28cm.