The work of Hungarian-Indian painter Amrita Sher-Gil continues to make waves long after her death in 1941. A rare portrait – measuring almost two metres tall – of her Hungarian husband Victor Egan fetched a whopping $1.53 million at AstaGuru's recent Modern Indian Art online auction from 19-20 December.
The oil painting was a parting gift to her husband's family, after the couple decided to move from Hungary to India in 1939, and then to Pakistan's Lahore in 1941.
Making its auction debut, this presented lot has a connection to Amrita Sher-Gil’s personal life. Discover the fascinating story behind this artwork titled ‘Portrait of Victor Egan’.— Astaguru (@astagurutweets) December 19, 2020
Our Modern Indian Art auction is live!#astaguru #auctionhouse #modernindianart #art #indianart pic.twitter.com/fIWUX8N2Pr
The painting, which shows her army doctor husband in his uniform, generated a lot of hype in the auction and witnessed “impressive bidding” before it was bought by art collector Manoj Israni. The work is so valuable because it is a rare window into the artists’ personal life and had sentimental value.
In 2015, one of Sher-Gil's self-portraits was sold $2.92 million, a record amount for an Indian woman artist. Many of her paintings from the early 1930s are self-portraits in the European style. She also painted episodes from her life in Paris including still lifes, nudes, and portraits of her friends.