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Painting of First Indian Oscar winner to be auctioned at Saffronart sale in Mumbai

The modern Indian art sale also features significant works by stalwarts like Tyeb Mehta, Ram Kumar, M F Husain, and Akbar Padamsee among others

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Paintings at Saffronart (representational image, credits-Google)
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Wed, 8 Feb 2017: A rare painting of Bhanu Athaiya, the first Indian to win the Oscar in 1983 for costume design in Richard Attenborough’s film “Gandhi”, will go under the hammer at Saffronart’s evening sale on February 16.

The painting by modernist artist Vasudeo S Gaitonde that immortalises Athaiya, Gaitonde’s student at the J J School of Art, was later acquired by fellow modernist Krishen Khanna and is estimated at Rs 23 crore.The modern Indian art sale also features significant works by stalwarts like Tyeb Mehta, Ram Kumar, M F Husain, and Akbar Padamsee among others, PTI reported

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“We are proud to present an extraordinary and carefully curated collection of modern masterpieces. It features leading names including V S Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta, Ram Kumar, M F Husain and F N Souza. Gaitonde’s painting of Bhanu is a rare and significant work,” Hugo Weihe, CEO of Saffronart said while talking to PTI.

The ‘Falling Figure’ (1965), one of Mehta’s earliest works, that won him a gold medal in the First Triennale of Contemporary World Art is estimated at Rs 57 crore.

The painting was an outcome of the artist witnessing the death of a man falling through a window during the Partition riots in 1947.

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“Mehta’s pared down minimalism, light colour and vigorous brushwork create an unlikely juxtaposition with the trauma that is the subject of his work. Mehta’s ‘Falling Figure’ is one of the earliest versions of his seminal series,” Weihe said.

A diptych by Padamsee is being offered at Rs 35 crore.

A continuation of the artist’s ‘Mirror Image’ series which are imagined landscapes, it offers a glimpse into his meditations on time, space and the duality of perception and reality through form, colour and texture.

Ram Kumar’s 1961 landscape ‘Benaras’, is an important early work of a subject that became the artist’s major preoccupation for the next several decades, marking a transition from his earlier figurative works.

The painting is estimated at Rs 65-85 lakhs.

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An unusual portrait showcasing a stoic Kumar painted by Husain in Kumar’s early figurative style, that is estimated between Rs 50-70 lakhs is also part of the sale. The artwork highlights the camaraderie between the two artists.

“Husain made the painting to honour Kumar, when the latter was unable to attend a joint exhibition of the two artists in Prague in 1967,” Weihe said.

The auction will be held in Mumbai.

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Primitive Art: Neanderthals Were Europe’s First Painters

Neanderthals died out about 40,000 years ago, soon after direct ancestors arrived in Europe

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Neanderthals
Neanderthal paintings can be seen in a cave in Pasiega, Spain in this photo obtained Feb. 22, 2018. University of Southampton. VOA

The world’s oldest known cave paintings were made by Neanderthals, not modern humans, suggesting our extinct cousins were far from being uncultured brutes.

A high-tech analysis of cave art at three Spanish sites, published on Thursday, dates the paintings to at least 64,800 years ago, or 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe from Africa.

That makes the cave art much older than previously thought and provides the strongest evidence yet that Neanderthals had the cognitive capacity to understand symbolic representation, a central pillar of human culture.

ALSO READ: French Scientists discover World’s oldest structure built by Neanderthals about 170,000 years ago

Neanderthals
While some archaeologists already viewed Neanderthals as more sophisticated than their commonplace caricature, the evidence until now has been inconclusive. Pixabay

“What we’ve got here is a smoking gun that really overturns the notion that Neanderthals were knuckle-dragging cavemen,” said Alistair Pike, professor of archaeological sciences at the University of Southampton, who co-led the study.

“Painting is something that has always been seen as a very human activity, so if Neanderthals are doing it they are being just like us,” he told Reuters.

With the data from the three Spanish cave sites described in the journal Science, Pike and colleagues believe they finally have rock-solid proof.

The early cave art at La Pasiega, Maltravieso and Ardales includes lines, dots, discs and hand stencils — and creating them would have involved specific skills, such as mixing pigments and selecting appropriate display locations.

The Neanderthals living in the same land that would one day give birth to Diego Velazquez and Pablo Picasso also needed the intellectual ability to think symbolically, like modern humans.

Scientists used a precise dating system based on the radioactive decay of uranium isotopes into thorium to assess the age of the paintings. This involved scraping a few milligrams of calcium carbonate deposit from the paintings for analysis.

A second related study published in Science Advances found that dyed and decorated marine shells from a different Spanish cave also dated back to pre-human times.

Neanderthals
Taken together, the researchers said their work suggested that Neanderthals were “cognitively indistinguishable” from early modern humans. Pixabay

ALSO READ: How About Some Tasty Woolly Rhinoceros for Dinner?

Joao Zilhao of the University of Barcelona said the new findings meant the search for the origins of human cognition needed to go back to the common ancestor of both Neanderthals and modern humans more than 500,000 years ago.

Neanderthals died out about 40,000 years ago, soon after direct ancestors arrived in Europe. It is unclear what killed them off, although theories include an inability to adapt to climate change and increased competition from modern humans.

If they were still alive today, Pike believes they could well have gone on developing complex art and technology.

“If they had been given the time, the resources and the population, then they might have ended up in some version of the world we live in today.” (VOA)