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Modern & Contemporary Indian Art Modern & Contemporary Indian Art RAM KUMAR (1924 - 2018)
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Ram Kumar was born in Shimla in 1924. He did his Masters in Economics at Delhi University but began training in art under the tutelage of Sailoz Mukherjee at Delhi’s Sharda Ukil School of Art. In 1952, he went to Paris to study painting at the studios of Andre Lhote and Fernand Léger. In 1970 he received the J D Rockefeller Fellowship. He was awarded the Kalidas Sanman by the Madhya Pradesh Government in 1985, the Padmashree in 1995 and the Padma Bhushan in 2010 by the Government of India. Today, Ram Kumar is considered one of India’s leading abstract painters.
Kumar’s early works were figurative and reflected his concern for the estranged individual within a crowded milieu. He was inspired by the dilapidated and overcrowded houses in Varanasi and moved from figuration to abstraction. Though purely abstract, these works successfully conveyed a tragic sense of hopelessness of the residents of those locales. Currently his abstract work done in sweeping strokes of paint evoke a celebration of natural spaces, however there also exists an undercurrent of incipient violence that lies within human habitation.
Ram Kumar is also a writer and has published two novels, a travelogue and several collections of short stories.
This untitled painting reflects a pure almost realistic landscape wherein he has painted a foreground of plains to a middle ground of hills stretching the rear ground to a cerulean blue. The landscape is topped with a cloudy English sky. The hills, as they valley down to the sea, resound with the sound of sea gulls and marine birds. However, following a cursory viewing the abstract in nature is clearly apparent as shapes merge and create a symphony of form, colour and tone.