Born 1924, Simla, Himanchal Pradesh, India.


Ram Kumar's work, throughout his lifetime, has often been difficult to place within the more simplistic narratives that have developed around modern Indian art. Although Kumar, like a number of Indian and Pakistani artists who studied in Paris in the 1950s, returned from Europe with a semi-figurative style that drew on post-cubism, he eventually chose to abandon the figure entirely and began working almost exclusively with the motifs of the abstract cityscapes and landscapes, a move unique among his immediate contemporaries at the time.  By insisting on the abstract, Kumar demands something that most of his contemporaries do not; a private, contemplative viewing experience. Like their counterparts in Western abstract art – the work of Rothko and Hans Hoffman come to mind – these works are less about transcendence and more about the visual encounter between the viewer and the painting in front of them. Thus, the evolution in Kumar’s work that continues to set him apart from his contemporaries can be understood as the embodiment of a break between depicting something (the individual) to articulating the possible response of that something; between picturing something and being it, if you like.


Ram Kumar studied painting in New Delhi and Paris. He is a vital part of first generation post-colonial Indian artists, a member of the fabled “Progressive Artist’s Group”, alongside F. N. Souza, S. H. Raza and M. F. Husain. Kumar has held solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including London, New York, France, Japan and throughout India.


The artist lives and works in New Delhi.




1949 – 1952       Atelier Fernand Leger and Andre Lhote, Paris

1946                     M.A. in Economics from St. Stephen's College, New Delhi

1945                     Evening Classes at the Sharada Ukil School, New Delhi


Select Solo Exhibitions


2016                     Ram Kumar: Traversing the Landscapes of the Mind, Saffronart, New Delhi

2014                     Ramkumar Drawings from the 60's, Aakriti Art Gallery, Kolkata, New Delhi

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

                                Chawla Art Gallery, New Delhi

2010 – 2011       Selected Works: 1949-2010, presented by Vadehra Art Gallery at Rabindra Bhavan, Lalit

Kala Akademi; Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2010                     Ram Kumar – A Retrospective, Aicon Gallery, New York

2009                     Selected Works, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2008                      Homage to Kekoo Gandhy, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai

Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2007                     Reflective Landscapes, Aicon Gallery, New York

You shall remain hidden, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

                                Materia Prima, Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi

2006                     Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2005                     Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

2005                     Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2003                     Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2002                     Recent Works, IndoCenter, Chelsea, presented by Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery; Mumbai; New Delhi; San Francisco; New York

2001                     Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2000                     Landscapes from New Zealand, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

1999                     Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

1997                     Arks Gallery, London

1997                     Amadavada Ni Gufa, Ahemdabad

1996                     Pages From a Sketch Book, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

                                Ram Kumar – A Journey Within, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

1994                     Jehangir Art Gallery, organized by Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

1993                     Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

1992                     Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

                                Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

1991                     Chitrakoot Gallery, Kolkata

1990                     Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

Center for Contemporary Art, New Delhi


Select Group Exhibitions


2016                     Split Visions | Abstraction in Modern Indian Painting, Aicon Gallery, New York

                                Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art, Dag Modern, New York

2015                     After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997, Queens Museum, Queens, NY

                                Abby Grey and Indian Modernism: Selections from the NYU Art Collection, Grey Art Gallery, New York

2014                     Immutable Gaze Pt. I | Masterpieces of Modern and Pre-Modern Indian Art, Aicon Gallery, New York

                                Shifting the Paradigm, Aicon Gallery, New York  

2012                     Gallery Collection, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

                                Aqua, Gallery Beyond, Mumbai

                                Contemporary: A Selection of Modern and Contemporary Art, prsented by Sakshi Gallery at The Park, Chennai

                                Through the Ages: South Asian Sculpture and Painting from Antiquity to Modernism, Aicon Gallery, New York

                                Sightings, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai

2011-12               Reprise 2011, Aicon Gallery, New York

2011                     Modern Masters, Aicon Gallery, New York

                                POP: Progressives on Paper, Aicon Gallery, New York

                                Anecdotes, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai

Masterclass, Dhoomimal Art Gallery, New Delhi

2010                     Paper Trails, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

                                The Progressive & Associates, Grosvenor Gallery, London

                                From Miniature to Modern: Traditions in Transition, Rob Dean Art, London in                                                         Association with Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

                                Master Class, The Arts Trust, Mumbai

                                Etchings, Lithographs, and Serigraphs, Grosvenor Gallery, London

2009                     Moderns and More, Aicon Gallery, New York

                                Indian Art After Independence: Selected Works from the Collections of Virginia & Ravi                                           Akhoury and Shelley & Donald Rubin, Emily Lowe Gallery, Hempstead

                                Progressive to Altermodern: 62 Years of Indian Modern Art, Grosvenor Gallery, London

                                Tracing Time, Bodhi Art, Mumbai

2008                     Contemporary and Modern Indian Art, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

                                Post Independence Masters, Aicon Gallery, New York

                                Freedom 2008 – Sixty Years of Indian Independence, Centre for International Modern Art                                   (CIMA), Kolkata

                                Towards friendship… Ram Kumar marks 50 years of knowing Kekoo Gandhy,                             

                                Chemould Art Gallery, Mumbai

2007                     Winter Moderns, Aicon Gallery, New York

2006                     Shadow Lines, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

                                Moderns Revisited, Grosvenor Gallery, London

2005                     Resonance, Art Musings Gallery, Mumbai

2004                     Concept and Form, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2001                     Ashta Nayak, Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai

                                Modern Indian Art, organized by Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery, Metropolitan                                              Pavilion, New York

2000                     Akbar Pademese - Exhibition of Paintings by M F Husain, Ram Kumar, Krishen Khanna,

                                Tyeb Mehta, S H Raza and Akbar Padamese, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

1997                     Image-Beyond Image, a Traveling Exhibition of Works from the Blenbarra Art Museum,                                    Japan, at New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai

1996                     The Moderns, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai

1995                     Gallery Raku, Japan

1988                     Three Indian Artists, Karachi, Pakistan

1987 – 1988       Festival of India shows in the then USSR and Japan

1987                     Coups de Coeur, Geneva, Switzerland

1985                     Artistes Indiens en France, Foundation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques, Paris

1973                     Indian Contemporary Painting, a traveling exhibition in the U.S. and Canada

1967                     Joint exhibition with M.F. Husain in Delhi and Prague, Czechoslovakia

1957                     Graham Gallery, New York

Gallery One, London


Awards and Fellowships


2010                     Padma Bhushan, Government of India

2003                      Officers Arts et Letters, French Government

1986                     Kalidas Samman by the Madya Pradesh State Government

1972                     Uttar Pradesh State Government for short stories in Hindi

1972                     Padmashree from Indian Government for short stories

1970                     JD Rockefeller fund fellowship

1959                     Honorable Mention, Sao Paolo Biennale

1958                     National Award, New Delhi

1956                     National Award, New Delhi