K.G. Subramanyan was born in 1924 in Kerala. He was a graduate in economics from Presidency College, Madras (now Chennai). Later, he joined Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan to study art.
In 1951, he became a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts in M.S. University, Baroda. In 1955, he received the British Council Research Scholarship to Slade School of Art, UK. The artist also taught painting at Kala Bhavan, till his retirement in 1989.
He exhibited his works in numerous solo and group exhibitions in different cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, New York, Baroda.
The acclaimed artist was the recipient of the Padma Shri (1975), the Padma Bhushan (2006) and the Padma Vibhushan (2012).
He passed away in 2016.