In 1934 she returned to India with her parents and settled in Simla, where she embarked on an ambitious plan to introduce modern art to India. As her art developed Sher-Gil rid herself of the academic style that she had learnt in Paris and rediscovered her Indian roots. She endeavoured to deepen her knowledge of Indian
art by studying and travelling extensively. Works like Group of Three Girls (1935; opposite) show how she was incorporating the style of Hindu miniatures and local decorative painters, with the synthetic simplicity that she had absorbed from European masters like Paul Gauguin and Amedeo Modigliani. For the artistic renewal of Indian art, she combined indigenous values with a modern European style.
During her time in India she felt intellectually challenged and stimulated by the many acquaintances she made; these included the political leader Jawaharlal Nehru, whom she met in 1937. In 1938 she once again left India for Europe where she married her first cousin Victor Egan. Soon after, the couple returned to India where Egan tried to establish a medical practice and Sher-Gil dedicated herself to painting. Due to a fatal illness Sher-Gil died aged only twenty-eight in 1941. Despite her short-lived career, her work is still hailed as an important landmark in the transition from traditional to contemporary Indian art.
1936 – Sher-Gil takes part in an exhibition with the Ukil Brothers at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay (now Mumbai).
1937 – Sher-Gil is awarded a gold medal at the ‘46th Annual Exhibition of the Bombay Art Society’ for her painting Group of Three Girls (above).