Lot 37
  • 37

Ram Kumar (b. 1924)

120,000 - 180,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ram Kumar
  • Untitled
  • Signed in Devanagari and dated '68' lower right
  • Oil on canvas
  • 50 by 34 in. (127 by 86.4 cm.)


Purchased by the current owner's father in India in 1968-69

Catalogue Note

In the 1960s, Ram Kumar's paintings abandoned the city in favor of the more nostalgic landscapes of his childhood, the forests and rivers of the Himalayan foothills. These landscapes are the final stage in Ram Kumar's journey toward achieving absolute purity in his paintings. 'Like a dedicated ascetic, Ram Kumar had to undergo the final rite of purification by renouncing not only the human-body which he had done earlier, but also its habitation on the earth, the city, and make the decisive leap into nature itself.' (N. Verma, "From Solitude to Salvation" in Ram Kumar: A Retrospective, New Delhi, 1994, p.7). 

'When a literary artist and a literary painter like Ram Kumar progresses towards the abstract, when despite his love for the German Expressionists, he decides to cast off the company of figures and dwell principally on the expression of forms made by man, the metamorphosis generates some of the powers of surrealism.  What happens really is that the exorcised familiars, the protagonists that have been exiled, or put to sleep, disappear from the city environment merely to lurk in the shadow of the city of the mind.  The painter, and the dramatis personae have not been completely disenchanted, they collect to generate a particular mood of romanticism that touches abstraction on one side and surrealism on the other.'  (Richard Bartholomew, Thought, May 7, 1960).

'Ram Kumar's landscapes lift one out of the toil of the moment into the timeless world of formless memories.  What he paints now is not what the eye sees in the ancient city, it is rather the response of the soul to the visual impacts.  This impact has released the cityscapes of the artist's inner world, a world built into the emotional psychological complex of the artist's personality, the only true world.  In these canvases he resurrects the images which have distilled into the subconscious, acquiring an authenticity and incorruptibility not of immediate experience.'  (J. Swaminathan rpt. in Ram Kumar: A Journey Within, New Delhi, 1996).