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Lot Details

Signed and dated 'Ram Kumar 1990' (on the reverse)

Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, New Delhi

Ram Kumar looked at nature for inspiration and sought out to transform his contemplation of the landscape into an irregular patchwork of color. "There was no longer any attempt to portray a realistic representation of what he observed. Instead, the outer landscape would transform itself into the inner mindscape, which in turn would manifest itself on canvas and paper. The mood and sensations that were evoked in him by his meditation on the outer world would play out as colors and textures. In the unique style of planar abstraction that he developed, slabs of color show jagged edges and lines are more subservient to the planes. Top angle views offer large and sweeping vistas that accentuate the movement of these horizontal bars." (Meera Menezes, Ram Kumar: Traversing the Landscapes of the Mind, Saffronart, December 2016, p. 13)

The variegated colors and irregular planes are suggestive of bodies of water and land, of rocky mountains, flat fields, of barren and parched earth. These topographical elements were transmitted through the color and the brushstrokes. Ochres, rust, white, black and blue were orchestrated together to produce complex symphonies of color, inducing both movement and stillness.

Ram Kumar

(1924 - 2018)
Born in Simla in 1924, Ram Kumar studied art while working on a Master’s degree in Economics from St. Stephens College, New Delhi. In 1949 he left for Paris to study painting under Andre Lhote and in 1950 he joined Atelier Fernand Leger, returning to India three years later. In 1970 he received the J. D. Rockefeller III Fund Fellowship. Since 1949, Ram Kumar has exhibited regularly in India and internationally. Some of his solo shows include those at Aicon Gallery, New York, in 2013; Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai in 2008; Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi in 2012, 2010-11, 09, 08, 06, 05, 03, 01, 00, 1993 and 92; Aicon Gallery, New York in 2013 and 2007, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai in 2005, 1999, 92, 90, 86, 84, 83, 78, 76, 73 and 71; Arks Gallery, London in 1997; and Grosvenor Gallery, London in 1966. In 2002, Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery organized a show of his work 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. In 1972 the Government of India awarded him with the Padma Shri, one of its highest Civilian honors. The Madhya Pradesh State Government awarded him with the Kalidas Samman in 1985, and for his writing, he received the Uttar Pradesh State Government award in 1975. Ram Kumar lived and worked in New Delhi, till he passed away in April 2018.