Three paintings made by renowned artist Ram Kumar, valued at around Rs. 4 crore each, have been stolen from his home in east Delhi’s Preet Vihar.
The 90-year-old is one of the most important names in modern Indian art and a contemporary of other greats like MF Hussain, SH Raza and Tyeb Mehta.
The stolen canvases were part of his signature Sad Town series painted in 1956 – a dark body of work depicting India in industrial transition, with the country’s mega towns battling unemployment, rising prices and migration from villages.
Kumar was decorated with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honour, in 2010 and the Padma Shri in 1972.
Kumar stored the valuable paintings for the last five years in the basement of his home in east Delhi’s Bharti Artist Colony, where he lives with domestic help BB Shankar.
The theft was discovered on Sunday after Kumar’s son—settled in Australia -- visited the Bharti Artist colony house and advised the artist to shift the works out of the basement studio.
“On Sunday, we went to the basement and found three canvases missing. Some other items were also missing but the three ‘Sad Town series’ paintings were the costliest. They have won several awards, including the Lalit Kala Academy award,” Kumar told HT.
According to the artist, a painting of his Sad Town series was sold for Rs. 4 crore during an international exhibition in London last year.
He said the stolen paintings were last displayed in an exhibition at the Lalit Kala Academy in Delhi four years ago.
Ajay Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (east), confirmed that a case of theft had been registered at Preet Vihar police station and a team formed to probe the crime.