Ram Kumar was born in the picturesque hill station of Simla in 1924. Though he showed a keen interest in art from a very young age he went on to pursue a Master Degree in Economics from Delhi University. After completing his Masters he went to Paris to study painting under Andre Lhote and Fernand Leger. His outstanding talent was soon noticed and he was awarded the prestigious Rockerfeller Fellowship in 1970.
Ram Kumarís Paintings
Ram Kumarís paintings can be seen as mans journey towards an increasing alienating urban life. The human condition in such hostile circumstances is the main concern of the painter as seen in his early paintings, which depict the alienated individual within the city. The cities in his paintings, specifically Varanasi with its dilapidated, moss covered houses, convey a sense of hopelessness, which engulfs the city dweller. His abstract paintings are characterized by sweeping strokes of paint, which evoke the fear of incipient violence within human habitation.
Ram Kumarís Varnasi
Ram Kumarís Varnasi is a city without hopes; therefore his palette too is fairly muted, and is in keeping with the artistís deliberately sordid interpretation of the city. Ram Kumar chooses to focus on the urban nightmare that Varanasi city has become. So there are no quaint depiction ghats in his paintings; nor are there the towering spires of the Vishwanath temple. Instead he chooses to depict the seven-kilometre stretch between Varuna and Asi that makes up the holy city of Varanasi. The spires of the holy Vishwanath temple and the presence of its neighbor, the gyan Vapi mosque are only a shadowy presence. There are illuminated temple doorways hinting at the hallowed garba griha within, and the collapsed temple of Ahalya, that sinks in sideways, as if caught permanently in the vicious circle of human greed.
Ram Kumar is also a popular Hindi Short storywriter. He was awarded the Padmashree in 1972 by the Govt. of India in 1985 the Kalidas Samman by the Madya Pradesh State Govt.