"Ram Kumar spent that decade, the first decade of India's independence, perfecting an elegiac figuration imbued with the spirit of tragic modernism. Infused with an ideological 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 memoralised 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, New Delhi, 1996, p. 37).
This early work reflects the gradual transition of Ram Kumar's style from the more figurative paintings of the 1950's towards the abstraction that typified his work of the 1960's and beyond.