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Ram Kumar, 'Untitled,' 1970. Oil on canvas. Mr. and Mrs. Rajiv Jahangir Chaudhri Collection.

Modern Indian Masterpieces from the
Mr. and Mrs. Rajiv Jahangir Chaudhri Collection:
Ram Kumar's Untitled, 1970

Employing a subdued palette composed largely of black, brown, green, and ocher, Ram Kumar (born 1924) conveys a deep and spiritual tie to his native landscape. By layering fragmented and hard-edged planes over an open and luminous background, he establishes a dynamic rhythm across the canvas that distills the essential energy and structure of nature without recourse to direct transcription of natural forms. After a period of study in Paris during the 1950s, Kumar returned to India, where he rapidly abandoned the stylized figure painting characteristic of his European period; instead, he turned his attention to the sweeping topography of India, particularly the area around Varanasi, Hinduism’s most sacred city. Kumar’s fifty-year meditation on the land of his birth has come to define his long and noted career.

This painting is temporarily on loan to the MFA through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Rajiv Jahangir Chaudhri and is on view through January 25, 2009, in the Indian Paintings Gallery.
View South Asian Art

Indian Paintings interactive tour

One of the oldest and most encyclopedic collections of Indian art in the United States, the MFA’s extensive holdings feature sculptures, paintings, and decorative objects dating from the third millennium B.C. to the early twentieth century. Highlights include important collections of early Buddhist sculpture, Mughal and Rajput miniature paintings, and artifacts from the Indus Valley culture site of Chanhu Daro. Much of the Southern Asian collection was compiled in the first quarter of the twentieth century by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, the groundbreaking theorist who was largely responsible for introducing ancient Indian art to the West.

Bath of the Buddha in the Nairanjana River
Bath of the Buddha in the Nairanjana River
Southern India, about A.D. 50
Denman Waldo Ross Collection 29.151
Lady at Her Toilette
Lady at Her Toilette
India (Punjab Hills), 1690–1700
Ross-Coomaraswamy Collection 17.2798
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