For connoisseurs of ancient art, there is the Winged Victory of Samothrace (2nd Century B.C.), the Sphinx of Egypt (3000 BC), and the cave drawings of Lascaux (15,000 BC). And there is the earliest known sculpture of human form, the full breasted Venus figure of Hohle Fels Germany (40,000 BC)

But our human ancestors have lived on the earth not for 40,000 years ago, but as "Lucy" of North Africa calls out, at least 3 million years.

The influence of "primitive early" African and Oceanic art on the work of contemporary innovators including Picasso, Braque, and Man Ray is well known. But as we derive inspiration from masters, will we be satisfied with the same sources, or look deeper, as did early 20th century artists?

Our ancestors of a million years ago leave, of course, no written record. Weather and time have erased most traces of their material culture.

Still extant, however, are numerous examples of their thinking and will. Early man tools provide the clearest insight into the lives and aesthetic of our distant ancestors. And as we examine closely the finest of their handiwork, there can be little doubt that purposeful and brilliant aesthetic expression existed more than a million years ago.

In today's update, MB Abram Galleries gathers from its inventory some of the rarest examples of early man tools, as well as examples of astonishing stone work which evolved right into the the modern era. As the legendary art dealer Andre Emmerich recognized in his New York gallery's 1957 exhibit "Abstract Art Before Columbus", contemporary art represents a continuum, not an interruption, of the past.

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