Krishen Khanna


A self-taught, Krishen Khanna is a well-acclaimed artist who portrays his imagination, thoughts and ideas onto the canvas with liveliness and spontaneity. His paintings are a clear portrayal of the hardships undergone by the working classes, during India and Pakistan participation. The depiction of figurative forms in his masterpieces was further complemented in a wholesome manner by vibrant colors.

Krishen Khanna was born in the year 1925 in Faislabad, Pakistan. After completing his education from Imperial Serfice College from 1938-1942, he joined Government College, in Lahore.  In 1947, following the Indo-Pakistan partition, Khanna’s family fled the newly-created Pakistan for Shimla, which has deeply affected the way he perceive the world. Prior to moving India, he joined Mayo School of Art in Lahore. In 1961, he resigned from the bank and has completely devoted his time to the world of art. He started his carrier as a banker in Mumbai, where he worked for 14 years.

Education & Work

Krishen Khanna has done BA (Hones.) in English Literature from a Government College in Lahore. Thereafter, he moved to Windsor, England to attend secondary school at Imperial Service College. After completing his graduation, he returned to Lahore, in 1942.

Krishen Khanna paintings brilliantly reflect the life of middle and lower middle classes. His work captures the moments in history in the most realistic way. Khanna’s masterful deployment of colors to evoke the human situation is unbeatable.

He has created several splendid paintings on band walls and truck walls, which illustrates the state of people at the time of partition. He used monochrome in his popular series based on truck wallahs and charcoal in ‘The Savage Heart’.

Khannahas successfully exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions around the world, including New York, Oxford, Washington, D.C., London, New Orleans, Honolulu, and Geneva. With her exemplary artworks, he has participated in the Venice, Havana and Tokyo biennales, Sao Paulo, and in the International Triennale in New Delhi.

He is being part of various special projects including, Laminated Drawing 71/2"x80" at Hotel Chola, Madras;Tryptich in oil in British Council building in New Delhi; Mural Paintings in oil in the domed ceiling of I.T.C. Hotel Maurya-Sheraton, Delhi; and Photographic Murals for Shipping Corporation of India & MMTC at Expo Osaka, Japan.

Also, he actively participated in various Group shows like: 948 Bombay Art Society, Mumbai; 1950 Progressive Artists Group, Jahangir Art Gallery, Mumbai; 1954, Two man show with M. F. Hussain; All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, Delhi; 1949, Progressive Artists Group, Artists Aid Centre, Mumbai; and 1955 Bombay Art Society.

Awards and Accolades

In the year 1965, he was honored with prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi award, Gold Medal at the First Triennale of Contemporary World Art, in 1968, and in 1997 he received the Kala Ratna from the All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society. In the year 1990, he received India’s fourth highest civilian honors, the Padma Shree for his explicit artworks. Other awards bestowed upon him are: Rockefellar Fellowship (1962), Fellowship of the Council of Economics and Cultural Affairs, New York (1965), and President's Award, International Festival of Art, Baghdad, Iraq (1986).Several publications have applauded his feet in the field of fine art. Once such publication that came out in 20007 was ‘Krishen Khanna: Images in My Time’.

View Similar Theme Artworks