Ram Kumar (India, b. 1924) Varanasi

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Lot 41*
Ram Kumar (India, b. 1924)
Varanasi

Sold for US$ 240,000 inc. premium
Ram Kumar (India, b. 1924)
Varanasi
oil on canvas, signed and perhaps dated 61 in devanagari upper right, in original Chemould Gallery frame
69 x 58.5 cm.

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private UK collection: acquired by the present owner in India in 1963.

    The present lot was used to illustrate the month of May in a calendar for 1963 issued by The Imperial Tobacco Company of India Ltd. entitled Contemporary Paintings of India; the painting was acquired by the present owner at the exhibition of the works featured there. Other artists featured include M. F. Husain, V. S. Gaitonde, Krishen Khanna and N. S. Bendre. A copy of the calendar is included in the lot.

    Kumar first visited Varanasi (formerly Banaras) in 1960 and the years from 1960-65 are usually referred to as his 'Banaras period'. This work captures that typical ghostly flavour of Kumar's landscapes, devoid of human beings, and which teeter on the verge of being abstract. He seemed to find this quality in Varanasi and it ties in with the traditionally spiritual nature of the city, though the full-blown emergence of both the abstraction and the spiritual is commonly held to come to the fore in his post-Varanasi work. The art critic Richard Bartholomew commented: 'He had gone to the city to interpret its visual experience in terms of colour and forms. The confrontation was intense - the doorways, arches and steps were his themes. The meander of forms constituted a dramatic structure. He noted the structure of the city as a relic, its wharfage and haven for the philosophy of death and passage of time.' (Thought, 11th March 1961, quoted in G. Gill (ed.), Ram Kumar: a Journey Within, New Delhi 1996, p. 102).
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