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Unseen for 80 years, Amrita Shergil’s ‘The Little Girl in Blue’ to be at Sotheby’s inaugural sale

Unseen for 80 years, Amrita Shergil’s ‘The Little Girl in Blue’ to be at Sotheby’s inaugural sale
November 08
17:12 2018

NEW DELHI: Amrita Sher-Gil’s ‘The Little Girl in Blue’ that was last seen 80 years ago at her first ever solo show in Lahore in 1937, will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s inaugural India sale — ‘Boundless: India’ on November 29.
The 1934 work, estimated between Rs 10 and 15 crore, is only the third oil painting by the artist ever offered at an auction in India, and the seventh offered anywhere in the world.
Painted by Sher-Gil at the age of 21, ‘The Little Girl in Blue’ is believed to depict Babit, the artist’s second cousin and the granddaughter of the eminent politician Sunder Singh.
Embodying a bohemian combination of East and West, Sher-Gil’s work belonged to no particular school or style of painting, and has been treasured in the same family collection ever since it was acquired eight decades back by Charles Fabri at Faletti’s Hotel in Lahore.

“For Sotheby’s first sale in Mumbai, we were looking for artists that reflected the true spirit of India, and who could better embody this than Amrita Sher-Gil? Honored as a National Treasure Artist, she holds a special place in the history of Indian art.
“The scarcity of her paintings means that very few have been offered at auction in India before. This is a very special moment,” Gaurav Bhatia, Managing Director of Sotheby’s India, said.
The Hungarian-Indian painter forged a revolutionary new path informed by her experiences in Hungary, Paris and India, creating a body of work that was simultaneously aggressively modern and decidedly Indian.

At a time when most artists portrayed women as content and compliant, Sher-Gil’s treatment of female subjects was singularly unique, revealing their loneliness or silent resolve.
Ahead of Sotheby’s ‘Boundless: India’ sale later this month, ‘The Little Girl in Blue’ will be placed on public display at the Bikaner House (November 17) here, and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (November 27-28) in Mumbai. PTI

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