Ram Kumar was one of India’s foremost abstract painters. Associated with the Progressive Artists’ Group, he started his career painting figures of dispossessed labourers in grim urban landscapes. A visit to Varanasi in the 1960s with M.F. Husain was a turning point in his career. Inspired by the city’s spirituality, terrain and structures, he started painting increasingly abstract landscapes, and the human figure gradually disappeared from his canvases.
Since the 1960s, Ram Kumar has painted urban landscapes that reflect the impact of human habitation on nature.