I love Sher-Gil's work. Almost everything she painted. Every work of art transformed itself in her hands. So there was this one biography of hers which I had read a long time ago, whose author I forget. But this is the one that will stay for a long time to come. I think it is mainly because of the illustrations.
"Rebel with a Paintbrush" very succinctly describes Sher-Gil - as a person, a wife, a lover, and an artist. More than anything, the book is all about her influences and her works of art. The journey of an artist is so well-described that I wished there was more of it. More than anything else, I am in awe of how she conducted herself and lived life on her terms. Mind you, we are referring to a time when feminism had just taken flight.
This book is about her life, her influences, her education, the growing-up years and her determination and passion toward her art. It is also about the story behind the artist - about the rebel and the dreamer, her loves and longing and what shaped her both as an artist and woman.
Anita Vachharajani's take on it may not seem new, but the writing is fresh and important. Also the beautiful reprints of Sher-Gil's work along with the original illustrations by Kalyani Ganapathy make it more than worthwhile to pick this brief biography. I loved how Anita has looked at every aspect of Amrita's life and ensured that nothing is missed. I can only imagine how she must've managed it but the result is quite a treat for someone who has an interest in art and wants to understand more about Amrita Sher-Gil - her life and work. Do read this book. Won't take too much of your time and a perfect one for the monsoons.