K.G. Subramanyan first studied economics at Presidency College in Madras before attending Kala Bhavan in Shantiniketan. In 1955, Subramanyan studied as a British Council Scholar at the Slade School of Art and in 1966 was a Rockefeller Fellow in New York. A prolific writer, scholar and art historian, Subramanyan has taught in both Vadodara and Shantiniketan. He is the recipient of numerous awards including The Padma Bhushan Award (2006), Padma Shri (1975) and The Kalidas Samman (1981).
He has represented Indian contemporary art in many significant group exhibitions in India and abroad including the first Indian Triennial in New Delhi (1968); The Sao Paulo Biennale in Sao Pualo, Brazil (1961); ‘Seven Contemporary Indian Painters’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (1993); ‘Kalpana: Figurative Art in India’ presented by ICCR at the Aicon Gallery, London (2009); and ‘Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India’ at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai (2007).
His first solo exhibition was at Freemason’s Hall, New Delhi in 1955. Since then, he has held more than fifteen large solo exhibitions, including a retrospective at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and Mumbai (2003).