Ram Kumar


Born in 1924 at Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. He studied Painting under Andre Lhote and Fernard Leger, Paris, 1949-52. In 1946 M. A. in Economics from the St. Stephens College, Delhi University, New Delhi 1945 Sharada Ukil School of Art, New Delhi. Ram Kumar’s art has been a journey from city to landscape, from the grihasta’s social obligations to the sanyasin’s peripatetic freedom, it has also been an art of looking back, an art of reminiscence. As he departs from places he has known intimately, the artist takes with him spasms of agitation that he will recollect in tranquility; so that the images that time has shattered may be set right, and words lost to the wind may be strung together, again, in chants. Do we see evidence, in Ram Kumar’s most recent work, of reconciliation between householder and renouncer, city and landscape? In the paintings that he has executed since the late 1990s, the architecture of the tomb has been replaced by the architecture of the temple-town built by the river. This is surely a Varanasi idealized as tirtha, the ford that signifies a place of pilgrimage in Indic culture: the point where settlement meets openness, and the pilgrim self makes the crossing from locality to cosmos, the earthly to the transcendent, time to eternity.


Ram Kumar, like many of his confreres among the first generation of post-colonial Indian artists - including such figures as F N Souza, M F Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Jehangir Sabavala, Krishen Khanna, S H Raza and Akbar Padamsee - combined an internationalist desire with the need to belong emphatically to their homeland. Kumar's works has been exhibited accross the world. His works are auctioned by several Auction houses.

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2014 'Ramkumar Drawings from the 60's', Aakriti Art Gallery, Kolkata
2013 'Ram Kumar and the Bombay Progressives: The Form and the Figure Part I', Aicon Gallery, New York
2012 'Drawings', Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2011 'Ram Kumar: A Retrospective', Aicon Gallery, London
2011 Chawla Art Gallery, New Delhi
2009 Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2008 ‘Homage to Kekoo Gandhy’, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai
2008 Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2007 ‘Reflective Landscapes’, Aicon Gallery, New York
2006 Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2002 Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, New Delhi, San Fransico, New York
2001 Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2000 Landscapes from New Zealand, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
1999 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1997 Amdavad Ni Gufa, Ahmedabad
1996 ‘Pages From a Sketch Book’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1992 Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
1992 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1990 Center for Contemporary Art, New Delhi
1988 Works on Paper, Alliance Francaise, New Delhi
1986 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1983 Sarla Art Centre, Chennai
1983 Works on Paper, Miskole, Hungary
1981 Works on Paper, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1980 Art Heritage, New Delhi
1979 Chanakya Gallery, New Delhi
1966 Grosvenor Gallery, London
1965 Kunika Art Center, New Delhi
1964 Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
1963 Kunika Art Center, New Delhi
1960 Wax and Ink on paper after first visit to Benaras, Kumar Gallery, New Delhi
1959 Kumar Gallery, New Delhi
1953 Alliance Francaise, Mumbai
1949 Y.M.C.A. Hall, Simla

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2014 'Immutable Gaze Part I: Masterpieces of Modern and Pre-Modern Indian Art', Aicon Gallery, New York
2013 'Pioneers of Modernism', Sovereign FZE, Dubai
2013 'Ideas of the Sublime', presented by Vadehra Art Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
2013 'The Discerning Eye: Modern Masters', Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2012 'Gallery Collection', Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2012 'Through the Ages: South Asian Sculpture and Painting from Antiquity to Modernism', Aicon Gallery, New York
2012 'Sightings', Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2011-12 'Reprise 2011', Aicon Gallery, New York
2011 'Modern Masters', Aicon Gallery, New York
2011 'POP: Progressives on Paper', Aicon Gallery, New York
2011 'Anecdotes', Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2011 'Masterclass', Dhoomimal Art Gallery, New Delhi
2010 'Paper Trails', Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2010 'The Progressives & Associates', Grosvenor Gallery, London
2009 'Indian Art After Independence: Selected Works from the Collections of Virginia & Ravi Akhoury and Shelley & Donald Rubin',
Emily Lowe Gallery, Hempstead
2009 'Progressive to Altermodern: 62 Years of Indian Modern Art', Grosvenor Gallery, London
2009 'Tracing Time', Bodhi Art, Mumbai
2008 'Post Independence Masters', Aicon Gallery, New York
2006 ‘Shadow Lines’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2006 ‘Moderns Revisited’, Grosvenor Vadehra, London
1996 ‘The Moderns’, National Gallery Of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai
1991 ‘Remembering Kali Pundole’, Joint Exhibition with M. F. Husain, V. S. Gaitonde, Akbar Padamsee
1971 Ten Indian Artists, a traveling exhibition in U. S. A.
1958 Eight Indian Artists, Graham Gallery, New York
1958 Seven Indian Painters in Europe, Gallery One, London
1958 Graphic exhibition with M. F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta and V. S. Gaitonde, Mumbai

Honours and Awards:

2010 Padma Bhushan from Government of India
2003 Officers Arts et Letters, French Government
1986 Kalidas Samman, Madhya Pradesh State Government
1972 Premchand Puraskar, Uttar Pradesh State Government for Meri Priya Kahaniyan, a collection of short stories in Hindi
1972 Padmashree, Government of India
1970 J. D. Rockefeller III Fellowship, New York
1959 Honorable Mention, Sao Paolo Biennale
1958 National Award, New Delhi
1956 National Award, New Delhi

He passed away in April, 2018.


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