Born in 1924 in Simla, Ram Kumar was among India’s leading modernists. He studied Economics at St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, in 1946. Following this, he went to Paris to study painting under Andre Lhote and Fernard Leger in 1949-1952.[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]Born in 1923 in Simla, Kumar was surrounded with by her picturesque hills and mountains, an attraction which continued when he encountered Kumaon, Ladakh and Andretta — havens he frequently retreated to, to paint. He seems to enjoy a certain peace and inner security every time he recalls his childhood memories of the mountains confirming that artworks are about space, childhood and love. At the same time, his quest for spirituality surfaced. Kumar’s spiritual journey began with Varanasi followed by Machu Picchu with its ancient ruins and finally ended in Ladakh with its mountains and monasteries.
Kumar’s creativity first took the form of short stories. He wanted to be a writer but soon became interested in painting and when he had to choose, painting prevailed. While he was studying for his Masters in Economics at St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, Kumar joined the evening class of known artist Sailoz Mukherjee who had a modern approach to art and encouraged still life portrait painting with models. Raza spotted Kumar’s work in a group exhibition in Delhi and soon struck a deep friendship. He was in Paris from 1949 - 1952 and studied under Andre Lhote in his first year and joined Ferdinand Leger’s classes the next.
Kumar’s Paris experience was, for him, most inspiring. Picasso and Matisse were living in France, and he actually got to see their exhibitions. He imbibed the rich French culture and feels he was fortunate to see the paintings of world masters in the museums from Renaissance artists like Da Vinci and Modigliani. The rooftops and landscapes that were backgrounds in his earlier figurative paintings soon became the main focus as he banished the people and formally began abstract in 1959.
Some of his solo shows include those in New York, Mumbai, New Delhi & London. In 2002, a show of his work was organized in Mumbai, New Delhi, San Francisco and New York. Other retrospectives of his work have been held at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi in 1994 and 1993; Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in 1993; and the Birla Museum, Kolkata in 1980.
His two exhibits with us are acrylic on papers, one of which was made in 1993.