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Ram Kumar, Benares, 2015, oil on canvas, 36 × 24".

Ram Kumar

Aakriti Art Gallery

Ram Kumar, Benares, 2015, oil on canvas, 36 × 24".

Ram Kumar is one of the last living artists from the triumphant period of painting that followed India’s independence. Along with contemporaries such as Akbar Padamsee and the recently deceased S. H. Raza, Kumar took the end of World War II as an opportunity to move to Paris; there he studied under Fernand Léger and André Lhote and briefly joined the Communist Party. Upon returning home in 1952, he was confronted by the post-partition refugee camps of Delhi; his response was a gritty, social-realist style of portraiture that sought to represent the traumas of his new countrymen. Meanwhile, artists like M. F. Husain and F. N. Souza endeavored to combine a cubist idiom with Indian religious and folk imagery, while the curator Ebrahim Alkazi inaugurated “This is Modern Art,” a series of widely attended exhibitions of prints of canonical European paintings. The new Indian art, like

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