Krishen Khanna

Krishen Khanna’s works range from carefully constructed compositions to gestural, spontaneous works. His deployment of colour and strokes to evoke the human situation is unmatched. Works like his Nocturne series capture the heaviness of a worker’s tired body resting at the end of the day as faithfully as his Bandwallas series captures the exuberant energy of the band of musicians. In his many monochromatic works one sees the energy in the frenzy of lines and tension in the tight compositions, with the overall picture pulsating with the interplay of formal elements. Through a lack of physical detail; Khanna’s paintings aspire towards a quality of timelessness and universality.


His bank job then took him to Madras, and it was here in 1955 that Khanna had his first solo show at the USIS. His years here saw him engaged with the human subject, those of labourers and women engaged in mundane tasks. Apart from several one man shows he has participated in group shows like the Tokyo Biennale 1957 and 1961, the Sao Paulo Biennale 1960, the Venice Biennale 1962, the Festival of India in the then USSR and Japanin 1987 and 1988. He was awarded the Padmashree in 1996.

The artist lives and works in Delhi.