Chintamoni Kar, one of the foremost modern sculptors of India, was born on 19 April 1915 in Kharagpur.
He trained initially in sculpture with Giridhari Mahapatra, a traditional Oriya sthapati or temple-carver, and learnt painting under Kshitindranath Mazumdar at the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta.
His exposure to Western art in Paris in 1938-39, however, transformed his outlook, where he studied at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière, and at the atelier of Italian sculptor Victor Giovanelli.
Kar’s subsequent disenchantment with the Bengal School was followed by ten productive years in England, during which he made his award-winning sculpture Skating the Stag, 1948, displayed at the 14th Olympic exhibition in London. He would return to Europe later to work on the conservation of paintings at Musée du Louvre, Paris, and at the Institute Royal du Patrimoine Artistique, Brussels, in 1960-61.
Back in India, he served as principal of the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Calcutta, from 1956-73. Equally at ease with the academic as well as abstract styles, and various mediums, Kar experimented with forms, fusing concepts and technique into an amalgam of convention and sophistication, of myth and modernity.
Kar was also a prolific writer. His Bengali commentary on French art and society, Pharasi Silpi O Samaj, was published in 1940, and the book, Classic Indian Sculpture, was published in 1951. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1974. Kar passed away on 3 October 2005, in Kolkata.