Wolf Kahn created landscapes in rich, vibrant oils, pastels and prints for more than sixty years.


Early Life and Education

Wolf Kahn was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1927, the youngest of four children. His father was a prominent composer and conductor with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, who lost his appointment when the Nazis took power in 1933. Kahn was sent to live with his grandmother in Frankfurt, while his father, stepmother and his siblings emigrated to the U.S. Kahn’s grandmother recognized his talent and paid for private art lessons.


When he was twelve, Kahn’s grandmother arranged for him to stay with host families in England for a year, until he was able to join his family in New York.


Kahn graduated from the High School of Music and Art in New York, did a one-year stint in the Navy in 1945, then returned New York, where he studied painting at the New School with Stuart Davis. The G.I. Bill allowed him to continue his studies with Hans Hoffmann, at the Hans Hofmann School. Kahn worked as Hofmann’s studio assistant for two years and then transferred to the University of Chicago Hutchins Program, where he completed his BA in less than a year.


Career and Family

Kahn first exhibited in New York at a group show in 1947, curated by art critic Clement Greenberg. In 1955, Kahn was represented by the Grace Borgenicht Gallery. His work was included in a show at the Whitney Museum called Young America 1960: 30 Painters under 36.


In 1957, Kahn married painter Emily Mason, the daughter of painter Alice Trumbull. The Kahns had two daughters, Melany, and Cecily, a painter married to artist, David Kapp. Kahn was a member of the National Academy of Design, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was an honorary trustee of the Brattleboro Museum in Vermont, where he spent summers. Kahn worked in his New York studio the rest of the year.


Wolf Kahn died in March, 2020, at age 92. Kahn’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Met, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Boca Raton Museum of Art and other galleries and museums in North America.


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