RAM KUMAR (1924-2018)
signed, dated and inscribed 'Ram Kumar 82 / 49 x 49' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
48 7/8 x 48 7/8 in. (124.1 x 124.1 cm.)
Painted in 1982
Sotheby's New York, 25 March 2011, lot 225
Acquired from the above
Thence by descent

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Nishad Avari
Nishad Avari Specialist, Head of Department

Lot Essay

"It would appear that the planes of time get interlocked with the multiple perspectives of the landscape in Ram Kumar's paintings. There is a sweep of variegated masses, structures in the painting referring abstractly to landscape elements, which suggest movement in time and space. The atmosphere which characterised many landscapes is transmuted into a complex but tangible mood. Wordsworth's definition of poetry, "the overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility," applies aptly to Ram Kumar's formulation of the remembered landscape" (R. Bartholomew, 'Contemporary Painting and Sculpture', The Indian Experience, Festival of India, 1982, unpaginated).

Ram Kumar began his romance with landscapes on his first visit to Varanasi in 1960. Since then, the landscape has remained the artist's focus, although his images and interpretations of it have undergone several magnificent changes. The prime motifs within his oeuvre oscillate between his numerous visitations to this holy city and the open vistas that are in essence painterly mementos of his life's journeys. In his works from the 1980s, it is the movement in the canvas that captures the viewer. These landscapes with their jagged planes of color, depict a barren topography of unbroken vastness bearing few manmade or natural markers.

The art critic Richard Bartholomew describes this beautifully, writing, "The movement of air can be a breeze or a storm. It can be a cyclone, with an aftermath of rain. The sky is infinity and eternity too. The sky is blue, it is filled with visible air, the movement of which can only be seen as it drives clouds and stirs the top of trees. And one can stand breathless admiring the expanse of a valley from the ledge of a mountain. The people are down there but you can't see them. The mountain and the valley are with you, and in you. You are part of nature and nature is in you" (R. Bartholomew, 'Landscape as vision', Ram Kumar: A Journey Within, 1996, New Delhi, p. 146).

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