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India and Gauguin's Tahitian Nudes: Mapping Modernism in a Global Frame

Revisit the legacy of Amrita Sher-Gil's artistic career in modern Indian art. Presentation by UCLA Professor Saloni Mathur.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

This seminar is offered in conjunction with UCLA South Asian Heritage Week.

Professor Mathur's presentation will revisit the legacy of Amrita Sher-Gil, the part-Indian-part-Hungarian
painter who stands at the cosmopolitan helm of modern Indian art by focusing on a single
under-examined painting she produced in 1934.  The painting, provocatively titled
Self-Portrait as Tahitian, depicts the artist’s own nude body in the romantic space of
Gauguin’s Tahitian nudes. What precisely was meant by Sher-Gil’s self-conscious
self-placement into the body of a Tahitian nude? How could art history have missed
this painting, so deliberate a citation of art historical precedent? And how can such
far-reaching coordinates — Paul Gauguin in the 1890’s, Amrita Sher-Gil in the 1930’s,
Paris, Tahiti, India, Hungary – be plotted onto our existing map of modernism’s unfolding in the
twentieth century?  This presentation will explore such questions, and further
examine how Sher-Gil’s mixed race heritage, her insider/outsider status, and
her sense of both distance and belonging in relation to India, became a
powerful driver of her short but influential artistic career.

About the Presenter:

Saloni Mathur is an Associate Professor of Art History at UCLA and author of
"India by Design: Colonial History and Cultural Display" (UC Press, 2007).




Photo: Amrita Sher-Gil, Self-Portrait as Tahitian, 1934 (oil on canvas).

Refreshments will be served.

Cost : Free

Juliana Espinosa

Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia

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