Wolf Kahn (1927-2020)
Wolf Kahn (1927-2020)
“My choice of color is dictated by tact and decorum stretched by an unholy desire to be outrageous. I’m trying to get color to the danger point where it’s too sweet or too noisy without actually making it too sweet or too noisy.”
Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Wolf Kahn immigrated to the United States in 1940, fleeing the growing antisemitic regime in his home country. Kahn had demonstrated an affinity for drawing from a young age and having settled in New York City, he began studying with Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hoffmann at the Hans Hoffman School of Fine Art under the GI Bill. During their time together, Hoffmann greatly influenced Kahn’s art, teaching him to seriously reflect upon the role that color played in his work. Years later, Kahn collaborated with a number of fellow Hoffmann students to establish the Hansa Gallery, an artist cooperative gallery in New York City. He also studied at the University of Chicago, where he completed his undergraduate degree in only a year.Contact Vose about this artist
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In 1956, Kahn met Emily Mason at the National Arts Club in New York City. A descendant of Neoclassical American artist John Trumbull and the daughter of Abstract artist Alice Trumbull Mason, Emily Mason was an accomplished artist herself, experimenting with the tenets of Abstract Expressionism in her own work. At the time of her meeting Kahn, Mason had just earned a Fulbright scholarship to paint and study in Venice, Italy. Kahn was so smitten with her that he followed her to Venice, where the two were married a year later in 1957. They remained in Italy for two years, but soon returned after Kahn himself earned a Fulbright to study and work in Rome. At the completion of his scholarship, they returned to New York City, where they lived the rest of their lives, excluding the summer months which they passed at their Vermont farmhouse.
During his nearly seventy-year career, Wolf Kahn met with great success for his unparalleled synthesis of Color Field and Realism painting. He was awarded a Medal of Arts from the US State Department, and he exhibited widely at prestigious venues across the country, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the San Diego Museum of Art. Today, his vigorous paintings of New England’s landscape can be found in countless private and public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Art Institute of Chicago.