Ramkumar,could be regarded as one of the first-generation of post-independence artists. His contemporaries include the likes of Mf Husain, F.N souza, SH Raza and Akbar Padamsee. The 20th century modernisms of Paris, Vienna and London served as an inspiration for him combined with a desire to ethnically belong to the homeland- in its inherent Indianness. Ramkumar’s search for an Indian identity has transcended mere motifs and figurations. As an artist he has transcended from figurative works to an abstraction. Having renounced the active engagement with the state and civil society that had earlier characterised his position, the artist has turned gradually inward, choosing to be an internal exile of the spirit. This withdrawal affords him the space in which to reflect upon the great natural forces that have enthralled him since his childhood, to gauge their metaphorical import: in their workings, he senses the deeper intrigue of time as kala, the destroyer of worlds.
He began his artistic journey studying at Sharada Ukil school of Art. He later went to Paris and trained under Andre Lhote and Fernand Legar. He was one of the members of Bombay Progressive Arts School.
His initial artworks had figurations which later transcended into abstract landscapes. In a conversation with Satyajit Ray, he stated that he was trying to say nothing through his paintings. The nothingness, reveals an essence which would otherwise be lost with the preoccupation with forms and figurations.
1949-52 Atelier Fernand Leger and Andre Lhote, Paris
2014, Aakriti Art Gallery
2000 Landscapes from New Zealand, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
1987, 88 Festival of India shows in the then USSR and Japan
1985 Artistes Indiens en France, Foundation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques, Paris
1967 Joint exhibition with M.F. Husain in Delhi and Prague, Czechoslovakia
1959 Sao Paulo Biennal
Padmashree, Government of India, 1972
John D. Rockefeller III Fellowship, New York, 1970
Premchand Puraskar, Government of Uttar Pradesh, 1972
Kalidas Samman, Government of Madhya Pradesh, 1986
Officers Arts et Letters, Government of France, 2003
Lifetime Achievement Award, Government of Delhi, 2010
Padma Bhushan, Government of India, 2010
Fellowship of the Lalit Kala Akademi, 2011
Various private and public collections both in India and abroad