Born in Simla in 1924 Ram Kumar did his Masters in Economics from Delhi University. A student at the Sarada Ukil School of Art, Delhi he began to participate in group exhibitions when he was spotted by Raza who become a close friend. Ram Kumar left for Paris by boat and studied painting under Andre Lhote and Fernand Leger in Paris between 1949-52. He has held several solo exhibitions like the International Biennales in Tokyo in 1957 and 1970, the Venice Biennale 1958 and in Sao Paulo in 1961, 1965 and 1972. He has also participated in the Festival of India shows in the then USSR and Japan in 1987 and 1988. Rarn Kumar received the Padma Shri in 1971. He also writes short stories in Hindi and four collections of his works have been published. He has received the Prem Chand Puraskar from the U.P. Government for Meri Priya Kahaniyan, a collection of short stories.
The human condition is the main concern of the painter manifested in his early works by the alienated individual within the city, specifically Varanasi with its dilapidated, crammed houses conveys a sense of hopelessness. Increasingly abstract works done in sweeping strokes of paint evoke both exultation of natural spaces and more recently an incipient violence within human habitation.
Ram Kumar lives and works in New Delhi.