This painting was likely exhibited at Ram Kumar's one-person show in Colombo in 1956. During this visit to Sri Lanka, he went to see works by George Keyt and Justin Daraniyagal and was struck by their talent. In 1958, he moved to Paris, renting an apartment next to Raza.
From the mid 1950's, Ram Kumar produced a series of figurative works, commenting on the despair and desolation experienced in India after Independence. His forlorn, often faceless figures form a part of the bleak urban landscapes and reflect a sense of vulnerability and isolation. In these early works, Ram Kumar perfected an 'elegiac figuration imbued with the spirit of tragic modernism. Infused with an idealogical fervour, he drew equally upon exemplars like Courbet, Rouault, Kathe Kollwitz and Edward Hopper dedicating himself to the creation of an iconography of depression and victimhood...To this period belong those lost souls: the monumental Picassoesque figures packed into a darkened picture-womb, the bewildered clerks, terrorized workers and emaciated doll-women trapped in industrial city. Rendered through a semi-cubist discipline and memorialised in paintings like 'Sad Town' and 'Hidden Sorrow', these fugitives are trapped in a hostile environment and in their own divided selves.' (Ranjit Hoskote, The Poet of the Visionary Landscape, in Ram Kumar, A Journey Within, Vadehra Art Gallery, 1996, p.37)
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