K. G. Subramanyan

3 min read

Nationality: Indian

Born: February 15, 1924

Born Place: Kuthuparamba, India

Died: June 29, 2016

Death Place: Vadodara, India

Gender: Male


Kalpathi Ganpathi “K.G.” Subramanyan (1924 – 29 June 2016) was an Indian artist. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2012.

Subramanyan was born in 1924 in Kuthuparamba in Kerala, India, and initially studied economics at Presidency College, Madras. During the freedom struggle he was actively involved and was known for his Gandhian ideology. He was even imprisoned and later banned from joining government colleges during the British Rule. The turning point of his life, as an artist, came when he visited Santiniketan to study in Kala Bhavan, the art faculty of Visva Bharati University, in the year 1944. Under the tutelage of such pioneers of modern Indian art as Nandalal Bose, Benode Behari Mukherjee and Ramkinkar Baij, Subramanyan studied there till 1948.

In 1951 he became a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts in M.S. University in Baroda. He went to study briefly in London at the Slade School of Art as a British Council scholar in 1956. While having already gone back to Baroda as a professor in painting and continuing there, he did a short stint in New York as a Rockefeller Fellow in 1966. In 1980, Subramanyan went back to Santiniketan to teach in his alma mater Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, in his capacity as a professor in painting, which he continued till he retired in 1989. In the same year, he was made a Professor Emeritus of Visva Bharati.

Subramanyan resided in Baroda, with his daughter Uma, towards the later days of his life and it was here that he died on 29 June 2016.


From 1951 to 59 Mr. Subramanyan was the Lecturer in Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda. He was the British Council Research Scholar, UK from 1955–56. He was Deputy Director (design), All India Handloom Board, Bombay from 1959 to 61 and Reader in Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda from 1961 to 65.

  • 1966–80 Professor of Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda
  • 1961–66 Design Consultant, All India
  • 1966–67 Fellowship of The JDR III Fund, New York
  • 1968–74 Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda
  • 1975 Elected to the World Crafts Council
  • Delegate, Asian Assembly, World Craft Council, Sydney
  • 1976 Member delegate, General Assembly, World Craft Council, Oaxtepec, Mexico
  • Visiting lecturer, Canadian universities: Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton
  • 1977–78 Visiting Fellow, Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan
  • 1980–89 Professor of Painting, Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan
  • 1985 Guest, Chinese Artists Association, China
  • 1987–88 Christensen Fellow, St. Catherine’s College, Oxford
  • 1989 Professor Emeritus, Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan
  • 2004 Left Santiniketan and shifted back to Baroda in September.


  • 1963 Medallion of Honourable Mention, Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil
  • 1965 National Award, Lalit Kala Akademi, New 1968 Gold Medal, The First International Triennale, New Delhi
  • 1975 Padma Shri, Government of India
  • 1991 Gagan-Aban Puraskar, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan
  • 1992 D.Litt. (Honoris Causa), Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta
  • 2006 Awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India
  • 2009 Awarded Dishikottam, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan
  • 2011 Awarded D.Litt. (Honoris Causa), Assam University, Silchar.
  • 2012 Awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India
  • 2013 Awarded the Dhirubhai Thakar Savyasachi Saraswat Award


  • 1978 Moving Focus: Essays on Indian Art, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. (Reissued by Seagull Books, Calcutta in 2006)
  • 1987 The Living Tradition, Seagull Books, Calcutta
  • 1992 The Creative Circuit, Seagull Books, Calcutta
  • 2006 Translation of Benodebehari Mukherjee’s Chitrakar, Seagull Books, Calcutta
  • 2007 Poems, Seagull Books, Calcutta
  • 2007 The Magic of Making: Essays on Art and Culture, Seagull Books, Calcutta

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 4 July 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

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