Artist Profile


1924 Born in Kuthuparamba, North Malabar, Kerala State. He spent his childhood in different parts of Kerala He started drawing and painting early, inspired by painted wood sculpture of Kerala temples. 1932 Moved to the French administered town of Mahe in North Malabar. 1936 Mahe being an asylum of various political activists, Subramanyan got drawn into youth clubs and study groups of Marxist Orientation. Read a lot, drew and made small laterite carvings. 1937 Got introduced to world Art through issues of L`Illustration, a French Journal. Gets introduced to the Indian art scene thro issues of The Modern Review. Admired the works of Abanindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose. Read a lot of English and Malyalam poetry. 1938 Read about Indian thought and religion: Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Annie Besant, Madam Blavatsky. Learned French and Sanskrit at school. Got interested in Gandhian Ideology through `My Experiments with Truth` and `Hind Swaraj` by Gandhiji. D.P. Roy


  • 1933 Took admission in the English School at Mahe in 4th standard.
  • 1939 Passed Matriculation, entered St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, for further studies.
  • 1941 Entered Presidency College to study B.A.(Hons.) in Economics.
  • 1944-48 Studied at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan.
  • 1955-56 British Council Research Scholarship to Slade School of Art, where he also he learnt print making, University of London.


  • 1953 Participated in the `Indian Art` exhb., USA.
  • 1955 Silpi Chakra, New Delhi (Also in 1958).
  • 1956 Solo show at the Jehangir art Gallery, Bombay.
  • 1956 `Three Artists` exhb. Hitchin, UK.
  • 1959 Exhb. at Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay.
  • 1960 Exhibition of designed textile at Bombay and New Delhi.
  • 1961 Participated in the Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil.
  • 1961 Exhb. at Jehingir Art Gallery, Bombay.
  • 1963 Solo show at New Delhi.
  • 1964 Participated in the Tokyo Biennale, Japan.
  • 1964 Participated in the `Ten Indian Artist`, USA.
  • 1965 Textile paintings, mural and woven hangings shown in the New York World Fair.
  • 1966 Solo Show of paintings, Bombay.
  • 1967 Solo Show of works, Gallery Navina, New York.
  • 1968 Participated in the 1st Indian Triennale.
  • 1969 Solo show of paintings in Bombay.
  • 1971 Solo show in Delhi of Polytichs executed since 1968.
  • 1972 Solo show of terracotta reliefs in Delhi.
  • 1976 Menton Biennale, France.
  • 1978 Solo show in Delhi of new


  • Ebrahim Alkazi & Art Heritage, New Delhi.
  • J.J.School of Art, Bombay.
  • Natonal Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.
  • Punjab University, Chandigarh.
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


  • 1957, 59 Received Prize, Bombay Art Society, Bombay.
  • 1961 First Prize, Maharashtra State Exhb.
  • 1965 National Award.
  • 1968 Gold Medal, First Indian Triennale.
  • 1975 Awarded `Padma Shri` by Govt. of India. Elected to the World Craft Council.
  • 1981 Received Kalidas Samman.
  • 1985 Fellow, Lalit Kala Akademi.
  • 2004 Lalit Kala Ratna, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.


`Subramanyan`s contact with surface, whether it is brush, tool or hand, is always light. just as his eye does not probe - it receives signals quickly - it follows that laying out of surface and countour is rapid, no time is spent obscuring the process. This preference was developed from an apprenticeship at Santiniketan and the influence of far eastern work ethics: of working spontaneously and discarding whatever is deficient or inappropriate, of the calligraphic principle as a life-force embodying energy, and as a forming device`. Nilima Sheikh.


1951-59 Taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao, University, Baroda as a junior colleague in the team of Markhand Bhatt, Sankho Chaudhri and N.S. Bendre. 1961 Moved back to Baroda, as Reader in the Painting Dept., Faculty of Fine Arts. 1966 Became the Professor of Painting, Faculty of fine Arts, Baroda. 1968 Became a Dean for 5 years tenure in, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda. 1977 Visiting Fellow at the Visva Bharati, Santiniketan. 1980 Professor of Painting and Design, Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan. 1987-88 Christensen Fellow, St. Catherine`s College, Oxford. 1989 Professor Emeritus, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.