The Modernism Behind "1948 - The First Avatars"

Modernism is crucial and important for collectible-grade art, and this principle extends to art in the digital format. This is what shapes our approach and sets us apart. Notably, this endeavor is poised to be India's first serious modern art profile-picture project made using AI.

The foundation of our project lies in a collection of portrait studies created in 1948, which emphasised capturing distinct traits. 

Prinseps is a research-driven art platform that aims to shed light on significant artist estates that have been overlooked and underappreciated. We also offer works of artists who are currently in high demand and experiencing peak commercial valuations. Our esteemed clientele includes renowned museums. Additionally, we have the distinction of being the first in India to conduct an NFT auction, offering original artworks of artists along with a unique digital copy sold under an NFT license.

We share the belief that digital art represents the future of the art world. However, we are critical of the gimmicks and imitative projects often associated with NFTs. Our focus lies in supporting projects and artists like Beeple and others who create authentic and genuine modern art within the digital art space. 

Everydays: the First 5000 Days

Profile picture portraits were always a part of modernist studies e.g. Picasso’s Purple Hat & Almond Eyes to name a couple.

Woman in a Hat (Purple Hat) by Pablo Picasso

 Self Portrait (Almond Eyes) by Pablo Picasso

In a project dating back to 1948, we discovered the work of a modernist artist (Gobardhan Ash) who aimed to create profile pictures emphasising various traits. These traits encompassed physical attributes, emotions, personality traits, societal status, situations, fashion, relationships, and more. The primary focus of the artwork was to visually represent these traits, rather than striving for a realistic depiction of the individuals. The goal is to identify the trait simply by observing the artwork. Gobardhan was a master watercolourist and had a unique ability to create textures using the medium. He understood colour, composition, and aesthetics well. We are able to transform them into a digital format using the same texturing and composition. 

Gobardhan was an important modernist. The years between 1948 and 1951 are highlighted as the artist's genius period -  wherein he was unemployed and likely soul-searching while living in his village far away from the city.  Important collectors such as Ebrahim Alkazi mentioned "this particular artist wielded considerable influence in the 1940s”. An important and early art critic, Sovom Som, had called the artist one of the early moderns of the 1930s and the 1940s. 

Seventy years later, we observe a proliferation of profile pictures (PFPs) and artworks that continue the tradition of highlighting traits, much like the project from 1948. This trend focuses on expressing and showcasing various characteristics through their visual representations.

Therefore we decided to create generative digital art using Gobardhan’s works from 1948 after having bought the copyright from the artist’s estate. We are extremely proud and enthused about the results. We firmly believe that our project stands apart from other NFT endeavors (more on the AI and the deep learning in other posts), as it brings a genuine sense of modernism to the world of NFTs.

Facts / FAQs


  • The project was an original study done by the artist and not specifically for the purpose of creating a series and therefore not contrived
  • Avatars made in 1948 without the realization that seventy years later they could be social media icons
  • Recreating the earliest and likely the only avatar project from history
  • Heavily textured as per the original art – very unique in execution
  • Copyright Protected 
Any questions?