Wolf Kahn

Click to tour Kahn's Work


Berta Walker Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of "WOLF KAHN: A Return to Provincetown," opening August 26, and continuing through September 11, 2005. Not only is Wolf Kahn returning to the Berta Walker Gallery after several years, but he is being presented in early November in a major exhibition at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum scheduled as part of the opening celebrations at the newly renovated and expanded Museum facilities.
One of the most influential landscape painters working in America today, Kahn is known for his lyrical scenes of woods, pastures, lakes, streams, coastal sites and, perhaps most famously, barns, whose looming geometry figure in so many of his compositions. Wolf Kahn is known for his abstracted studies of nature. Whether a misty morning in Vermont, or a sunny afternoon in Maine, Kahn consistently uses his surroundings as a point of departure. Discussing a recent exhibition of Kahn's paintings, Robert Berlind wrote in Art in America: "Kahn's landscapes range from deftly rendered observations to frankly decorative, nature-based concoctions with freely invented, autonomous color harmonies. Although his strongest affinity may be with Rothko, his work also evokes, by turns, 19th-century traditions of landscape, both French and American, and the less angst-ridden side of German Expressionism...His painterly interpretations of place and moment are bolstered by an alert formalism and a chromatic appetite that often induce him to take color harmonics to their limits."
Kahn's use of color is not necessarily a literal one, but, rather, it is an evocative one and this is where his true artistry lies. It is not in matching a particular color, but rather, in matching its effect in terms of its luminosity, its weight, its modification of the colors around it, and most importantly, its emotional impact on the viewer.
Wolf Kahn was born in Stuttgard, Germany in 1927. He arrived in the United States in 1940 where he attended the High School of Music and Art, and subsequently joined the Navy. Under the G.I. Bill, Kahn had the unique opportunity to study with the noted Abstract Expressionist and teacher Hans Hofmann. As Hofmann's studio assistant, the young artist absorbed his teacher's theories on color and form that are apparent in his work even to this day. He lives and works in New York City. When he came to Provincetown to study with Hans Hofmann, he met his wife, the painter Emily Mason and proposed to her here.
Wolf Kahn exhibits regularly at museums across North America. Selected museum collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., published a comprehensive monograph on his work in September 1996 (2nd edition in 1997, 3rd edition in 1998), a book on Wolf Kahn pastels in 2000, and in the Fall of 1993 published a third book entitled Wolf Kahn¹s America: A Painter¹s Journey.