Krishen Khanna

  • Born 1925 in Lyallpur, British India
Krishen Khanna was a largely self-taught artist who attended Imperial Service College in Windsor, England from 1938 to 1942 and the Government College in Lahore from 1942 to 1944. He started his career as a banker, relocating to Shimla after the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. He eventually moved to Bombay, where he associated with the members of the Progressive Artists’ Group. He was invited to join them in 1949. His first solo exhibition in 1955 was held at USIS, Chennai. Khanna became internationally known for his Expressionist brushwork, exuberant lines and energetic colors within figurative paintings. His recurrent themes include biblical subjects, the portrayal of musicians, as well as the direct and symbolical depiction of India’s ordinary life and its important moments in history. Khanna took part in the biennials of Tokyo (1957; 1961), São Paulo (1960), Venice (1962) and Havana (1991). In 1962, Khanna became the first Indian artist to receive a Rockefeller Grant. He traveled to Japan that year, then spent the years of 1963 and 1964 in the United States (Washington, D.C. and New York). He received the Padma Shri in 1990.

Artworks by Krishen Khanna in the exhibition