Legendary Modern Artist KG Subramanyan Passes Away

30/06/2016 3:23 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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VADODARA/ NEW DELHI -- Legendary artist KG Subramanyan, credited with being one of the pioneers of Indian modern art, passed away in Vadodara on Wednesday at the age of 92.

"The Kerala-born artist, who had been recovering from a hip surgery conducted over four weeks ago, suddenly took ill and passed away around 3 am. It is a huge loss for us," Naveen Kishore, Publisher, Seagull books, said in a statement condoling Subramanyan's death.

Kishore has published over 40 books of Subramanyan's artwork and the Seagull Foundation For The Arts has organised exhibitions of the master's works across India.

"He lived a full life and was famous for saying that for him each day is a day of celebration. He had a wonderful support system and we will miss him," Kishore said.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury posted an artwork by Subramanyan on his official Facebook page.

In a career spanning over six decades, the multifaceted artist, who lived and worked in Vadodara, worked as a painter, sculptor, muralist and print maker, besides being an author of children's books. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2012, the Padma Bhushan in 2006 and the Padma Shri in 1975.

Subramanyan was renowned for his outdoor murals, terracottas, and toys, and also experimented with weaving. In the 1970s, he began experimenting with reverse painting, an 18th-century craft tradition where the artist paints on a sheet of glass and reverses the glass to view the final image.

Subramanyam is survived by his daughter Uma and son-in-law. His wife Sushila died a decade ago.

Subramanyan studied under the tutelage of Benode Behari Mukherjee, Nandalal Bose and Ramkinkar Baij at Santiniketan. His style was inspired by the rich folk art traditions of India and also refers to Modernism's Cubist style of the West.

Artists and art fraternity members expressed their grief at the news of his demise.

Rajeev Lochan, director of the National Gallery of Modern Art, said, "The country has lost one of its legendary artists, pedagogue, theorist and scholar with the demise of KG Subramanyan. The NGMA mourns the loss of this noted personality whose contribution to the art world would be always remembered."

Poet, art critic, and curator, Ranjit Hoskote said on Twitter,

Expressing sadness at Subramanyan's demise, Baroda-based artist Rekha Rodwittiya tweeted,

Subramanyan graduated from Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan in 1948, after receiving his bachelor's degree in Economics from the Presidency College in Chennai. In Chennai, he participated and led his college in the Quit India movement of 1942 and was later imprisoned.

He joined the Kala Bhavan at Viswa Bharati in 1944. In 1951, after his Santiniketan training, he was invited to teach at the Department of Fine Arts in Baroda, along with NS Bendre and Sankho Choudhary.

In 1955, he received a British Council Research Fellowship to the Slade School of Art at the University of London.

Subramanyan's works are in many collections around the world, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Birla Academy of Art & Culture in Kolkata.

(With inputs from PTI)

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