Ram Kumar was born in 1924 in Simla, Himachal Pradesh.
In 1945 he studied Economics and in 1946 he received his Master of Arts degree at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. In 1945 he enrolled for the evening classes at Sarada Ukil School of Art. At the school he received instructions from Sailoz Mukherjee. In 1948 Ram met Jagdish Swaminathan where both worked as Journalism Trainees and participated in a group exhibition in Delhi where Raza was exhibiting his ‘Kashmir Landscapes’ at AIFACS in Delhi. In 1949 he had one - person exhibition at YMCA Hall in Simla. In 1949 - 1952 he studied in Paris for a year under Andre Lhote. In 1950 he joined Atelier Fernand Leger where he met Raza, Souza, Akbar and other Indian artists living in Paris. In 1954 he exhibited solo in Delhi.
In 1955 he travelled to Moscow and Leningrad to exhibit his works. In 1957 he exhibited solo at Alliance Francaise, Delhi. In 1956 and 1958 he received the National Award from Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. In 1958 Ram experimented with lithographs for the first time along with Husain, Tyeb and Gaitonde in a graphic exhibition organised by Shilalekh. In 1958 he exhibited solo in Warsaw and Kracow and he participated in a group exhibition at Graham Gallery, New York. He travelled to Paris and rented an old apartment next to Raza for 6 months. In 1958 he participated in a group exhibition ‘Seven Indian Painters In Europe’ at Gallery One, London. While in Paris his figures became more obscure in his works. On his way back to India he visited Greece, stayed in Istanbul and visited the Blue Mosque. On his return to Delhi, Ram started to paint the ‘Greek Landscape’ Series. In 1959 he resided in Simla for 8 months where he painted landscapes. In 1959 he exhibited solo at Kumar Gallery, Delhi. In 1959 he received an Honorable Mention at Sao Paulo Biennale, Sao Paulo. In 1960 Ram visited Benaras (Varanasi) with Husain and Sripat Rai. He did sketches of Ghats (Non Figurative works) using wax and Japanese Ink. He exhibited these works at Kumar Gallery, Delhi. In 1961 he went to Raniket for six months and painted landscapes. In 1962 he travelled to Kashmir for eight months and painted landscapes in green and blue colors. In 1963 he exhibited solo at Kunika Art Centre, Delhi. In 1964 Ram had one person exhibition at Gallery Chemould, Bombay. He moved to Bombay and stayed there for six months. While staying in Bombay he met Gaitonde, Nasreen Mohamedi at Bhulabhai Desai Institute.
In 1965 Ram exhibited solo at Kunika Art Centre, Delhi. In 1966 he visited Berlin and Prague. He had solo exhibitions at Gallery Chemould in Bombay and at Grosvenor Gallery, London. In 1967 he had a joint exhibition with Husain in Delhi and Prague. In 1968 Ram travelled to West Germany, Prague, London and Paris. He had a solo exhibition at Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi. In 1970 he received the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for a year in USA. He met Souza, Krishna Reddy, Samant and Natwar Bhavsar in New York. In 1970 he travelled to Spain, Italy and London. On his journey back to India he visited Mexico and Tokyo. In 1971 he exhibited solo at Pundole Gallery in Bombay and participated in a travelling exhibition of ‘Ten Indian Artists in USA. In 1972 Ram received the Padma Shree from the President of India. He received Prem Chand Puraskar from the Uttar Pradesh government for a collection of short stories in Hindi entitled ‘Meri Priya Kahaniyan’. In 1974 he had one person show at Gallery Chemould in Bombay.
In 1976 he visited Ladakh and drew inspiration from the mountainscape and the Ladakh land to do a series of paintings. In 1977 he visited Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and got inspired by the sand dunes. In 1977 and 1979 he had solo exhibitions at Chanakya Gallery, Delhi. In 1980 Ram participated in the Sao Paulo Biennale. He travelled to Brazil, Peru, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and New York. In 1980 he exhibited in a group exhibition at Lima in Peru. He rented an apartment in New York and painted the large canvas, ‘Machu Picchu’ (currently in collection of Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal). He participated in a group exhibition of Contemporary Asian Artists at Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan. He had a retrospective exhibition of his works from 1953 - 1980 at Birla Museum, Calcutta. In 1980 he had a solo exhibition at Art Heritage in New Delhi. In 1983 Ram participated in Indo-Greek Cultural Festival at Delphi in Greece, participated in a group exhibition at Miskole in Hungary and he exhibited solo at Sarla Art Centre in Madras.
In 1986 Ram received the Kalidas Award by the Madhya Pradesh Government and exhibited solo in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. In 1986 he had a second retrospective exhibition of his works from 1953 - 1986 at Art Heritage in New Delhi organised by Pundole Gallery, Bombay. In 1988 Ram had a group exhibition at Alliance Francaise in New Delhi and visited Iraq as an invitee for the Biennale Exhibition. In 1989 he visited New York on an invitation from the Asian Cultural Council and made lithographs at the Print Making Workshop in New York. In 1990 he exhibited solo at Centre for Contemporary Art in Delhi and at Pundole Gallery, Bombay. In 1991 he had a solo exhibition at Chitrakoot Gallery, Calcutta. In 1992 Ram had an exhibition of works on paper at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi. In 1993 he had a solo show at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi. In November 1993 he had a retrospective exhibition of his works from 1949 - 1993 at National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi that travelled to Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay in February 1994.
In 1995 he had a joint exhibition with Jogen Chowdhury at Gallery Raku, Japan. In 1996 he had an exhibition of ‘Pages from a sketch book’ at Pundole Gallery, Bombay. In 2015 he had a solo exhibition entitled Ram Kumar: Works from the 60’s at Gallery 7, Kalaghoda, Mumbai. In 2016 Ramkumar had a one man show in 2016 titled as 'Lines, lines and more lines..' at Gallery 7, Mumbai. Ram Kumar has been a writer of great repute. His novels, fictions in Hindi and a travelogue have been published.
His works are in several major collections in India and overseas.
He lives and works in New Delhi.