K. C. S. Paniker

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K. C. S. Panicker
K. C. S. Paniker.png
Born(1911-05-31)31 May 1911
Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
Died16 January 1977(1977-01-16) (aged 65)
Occupationabstract painter

K. C. S. Paniker (1911–1977) was a metaphysical and abstract painter from India. He interpreted the country's age-old metaphysical and spiritual knowledge in the 1960s, when Indian art was under the influence of the Western painters. "That was the time when a few Indian artists were trying to break out of this Western influence and establish an idiom and identity of their own," he said.

In 1976, he was awarded the highest award of the Lalit Kala Akademi, India's National Academy of Art, the Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi for lifetime contribution.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Coimbatore on 31 May 1911, Paniker received his education in present-day Kerala and later in Tamil Nadu.[1] The lush green village where Paniker lived influenced the colourful landscapes of his early years. The bright colours stayed in his paintings, even though he moved away from landscapes and onto other subject matters.[citation needed]

A virtual child prodigy, Paniker began painting landscapes when he was 12. By the age of 17, he was exhibiting at the Madras Fine Arts Society's annual shows. In 1918, he gave up college education to take up a job at the Indian Telegraph Department to support his family after the death of his father.[citation needed]

At the age of 25 he joined the Government School of Arts and Crafts, Chennai (1936–40).[1]


Since 1941, Paniker has been holding one man shows in Chennai and Delhi. He founded the Progressive Painters’ Association (P.P.A), in Chennai in 1944.[2] In 1954 he got his first international exposure when he held exhibitions at London and Paris. He became the principal of the Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai, in 1957, and in 1966 formed the Cholamandal Artists' Village, 9 km from Chennai, with his students and a few fellow artists.

The exhibitions abroad and his exposure to abstract artists like Salvador Dalí had a major influence on his art. "They hark back to the weird, but spiritually uplifting figurative exaggerations of ancient Indian painting and sculpture," Paniker said.

The colours he used were bright and sunny, as are colors in the paintings of the Impressionists. Somewhere down the line, Paniker moved on to use calligraphy and symbols to project a state of metaphysical abstraction.

KCS Paniker died in Madras at the age 66 on 16 January 1977.


KCS Paniker is considered as a leading figure[3] in the Madras Art Movement. He is the founder of Cholamandal Artists' Village.


  1. ^ a b K. C. S. Paniker Biography Cholamandal Artists' Village website
  2. ^ "For art's sake". The Hindu. 12 February 2009.
  3. ^ "A galaxy of stars". The Hindu. 26 August 2010.

External links[edit]