Wolf Kahn 1927–2020
Born in Germany, Wolf Kahn immigrated to the United States in 1940 and attended the High School of Music & Art in New York before joining the Navy. Thanks to the GI Bill, after his time in the military he was able to study with renowned Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann and would later become Hofmann’s studio assistant. Khan then attended the University of Chicago, graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and promptly dedicating himself to becoming a full-time artist. He and several of Hofmann’s other students established a cooperative gallery, Hansa Gallery, where Kahn held his first public exhibition. It was not long before he joined Grace Borgenicht Gallery in 1956, where he exhibited regularly until 1995.
Khan and his wife, painter Emily Mason, married in 1957 and traveled extensively in addition to maintaining a farm in Vermont where they spent the summer and fall every year. The myriad of locales he visited—from Egypt to Greece, Italy to Kenya—inspired his unique and colorful landscape paintings that reflected a fusion of disparate influences: Hans Hofmann’s abstraction, Matisse’s palette, Rothko’s application of color, and American Impressionist atmosphere. Khan was the recipient of many prestigious awards including a Fulbright Scholarship, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, an Award in Art from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Medal of Arts from the U.S. State Department. His work was, and continues to be, exhibited at galleries and museums across the country and can be found in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among many others.
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