PROPERTY OF A LADY
Oil on canvas
17 1/2 x 32 in. (44.5 x 81.5 cm.)
Signed in Devanagari lower right
Ram Kumar's cityscapes should not be read as landscape studies, as the titles may suggest, but as autobiographical portraits of the artist himself. Favouring the noumenal over the phenomenal world, Ram Kumar provides a reflection of himself through the image of the city. Showcasing interest in the human condition of 'an alienated individual within the city' since the days of his association with the Progressives, Ram Kumar's body of work took a dramatic shift after his first tour to Benaras in 1960, with gradually increasing tendencies towards abstraction.
Clusters of dilapidated buildings bundled up together against a background of the holy waters of the Ganges, Kumar's Benaras is quintessentially Kumar's Benaras - a reflection of his own sub-conscious. Employing various shades of greens, blues and browns, the thickly applied impasto provides the viewer with the image of a crowded town pulsating with a mystical energy, whilst simultaneously hinting at the claustrophobic spirit which lies hidden at the heart of the ancient city.
'Ram's visit to Banaras brought him close to people again, their customs and rituals and their places of ceremony and worship. To Ram, Banaras was a massive monument made up of many facets. Built up carefully with the palette-knife, almost as a bold mosaic, the meander of forms, piled up in series, constituted a structure which was dramatic and picturesque. There were no people depicted and water and sky hardly featured as elements. Colours - tones of grey-green, blue-grey - formed either to represent detail or to symbolise vast stretches and an expansive movement concerned Ram. These were the features of the painting of the period.' (Richard Bartholomew, 'Nature and Abstraction - An Enquiry into Their Interaction', Lalit Kala Contemporary 23 reproduced in Richard Bartholomew, The Art Critic, New Delhi, 2012, p. 111)
About The Artist:
RAM KUMAR (1924 - 2018)