Miles McEnery Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Wolf Kahn (1927-2020), on view 2 February through 11 March 2023 at 525 West 22nd Street. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated publication featuring text by Maura Reilly, PhD.
Wolf Kahn is a celebrated colorist who uniquely blended representational painting with abstract methods and principles. Over the course of his seven decade career as an artist, he painted landscapes illuminated with sweeping bands of color that possess a captivating rhythm and vibrancy. Kahn embodied a synthesis of artistic traits—the modern abstract training of Hans Hofmann, the palette of Matisse and Bonnard, Rothko’s variegated hues, and the atmospheric qualities of American Impressionism. The fusion of color, spontaneity, and representation has produced a rich and expressive body of work.
The paintings in this exhibition survey a pivotal era in Kahn’s career. Dating from the mid-1980s through the 1990s, the artist employed a brilliant color palette to depict the natural world. As Dr. Maura Reilly writes, “Each of the vibrant landscapes from this period is reduced to a series of mostly horizontal or diagonal bands of bright colors, often in stark contrast with one another. Each composition verges on total abstraction. Often, the only indication that the viewer is looking at a landscape is the title of the work.”
Born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1927, Wolf Kahn fled Nazi Germany to Britain through the Kindertransport in the late 1930s. He eventually settled in the United States, where he completed high school and enrolled in the Navy. Following his service, he studied with the legendary teacher and Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann, before becoming his studio assistant. In 1950, he enrolled at the University of Chicago and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree within one year. In 1957, Kahn married the artist Emily Mason. The pair lived and worked between New York City and West Brattleboro, VT. In March 2020, Wolf Kahn died at the age of 92 in New York, NY.
Kahn’s work has been exhibited at galleries and museums throughout North America. He was the recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship, the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Medal of Arts from the State Department.
His work is held in important museum collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; and The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
After years of working closely with Kahn, Miles McEnery Gallery is pleased to exclusively represent the Wolf Kahn Foundation. This is the gallery’s first exhibition in direct partnership with the Foundation.Download PDF