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Chintamoni Kar passes away

Calcutta, Oct. 3: Sculptor Chintamoni Kar died in Calcutta in a private hospital at the age of 90 today.

His wife Amina Kar and only son had predeceased him.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in his condolence message expressed grief at the death of Kar.

One of the most renowned scupltors of modern India, Kar was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1972. He received the Deshikottama, the top honour of Visva-Bharati, in 1990. He was chairman of the State Fine Art Council. In 2000, France’s highest civilian honour was conferred on him by the country’s ambassdor.

Kar was born in 1915 at Kharagpur. He took his first lessons in painting at Abanindranth’s Oriental Art Society. Kshitindranath Majumdar taught him painting, while he received his first lessons in sculpting from two hereditary craftsmen, Giridhari Mahapatra of Orissa and Victor Giovanelli of Italy.

In 1938 he went to Paris to learn sculpting, and he was in London between 1946-56 where he was a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. At the 14th Olympic exhibition in London, he had won an award for his work Skating the Stag. He was principal of the Government College of Art and Craft, Calcutta, from 1956 to 1973. His home in Narendrapur had been turned into a museum.

Kar, who was initially trained in the academic/representational style, was equally at home in the world of abstraction and this was reflected in the fluid grace of his sculpture and the many elliptical and tubular forms he created with wood, terracotta, stone, vitrified clay and metal.

For him no dichotomy existed. As he would say, the lingam and Nataraja were one and the same. Buddha figures, Cloud Messenger, Mithuna and Caryatid were some of his better known works.

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