The Work of Wolf Kahn at Surovek Gallery

In fact, I don't believe in planning anything in painting. I think you follow your brush and the more alert you are to the implications of what your brush is telling you the better, the more interesting, your work finally gets.
— Wolf Kahn

The story of Wolf Kahn is a love story and one of finding light after darkness. Kahn was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1927. He managed to escape the Nazi regime and emigrate to America when he was twelve, but spent his early years in constant fear of being beaten by Hitler youth.


Like Milton Avery and Alex Katz, two of the contemporary artists he greatly admired, Kahn created his own style rather than paint abstract expressionist works that were in vogue when he was a young art student.


Kahn was married to artist Emily Mason for 62 years. Mason died on December 10, 2019 at age 87. Kahn died just three months later, on March 15, 2020, at age 92.


Kahn’s beautiful landscapes of the views around their summer home in Brattleboro, Vermont are full of magnificent colors and a sense of serenity. Ironically, Kahn completed them in his Manhattan studio, above the noise and bustle of the city. "The environment in which my paintings grow best is at Broadway and 12th Street." he said. "I can see nature most clearly in my studio, undistracted by trees and skies. Art being emotion recollected in tranquility, I constantly find Nature too emotional, and Broadway very tranquil.”


Wolf Kahn was awarded the 2017 U.S. State Department's International Medal of Arts. His work has been part of the State Department’s Art in Embassies program, which loans work to diplomatic bureaus around the world.


Wolf Kahn’s paintings can be found in the permanent collections of the Met, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Boca Raton Museum of Art and other fine galleries and museums.



Nicholas Delbanco. In Memoriam/A Tribute to Wolf Kahn. The Brooklyn Rail. June 2020.
Miles McEnery. A Tribute to Wolf Kahn. The Brooklyn Rail. June 2020.
Virginia Mecklenburg. A Tribute to Wolf Kahn. The Brooklyn Rail. June 2020.
William Agee. A Tribute to Wolf Kahn. The Brooklyn Rail. June 2020.
Neil Genzlinger. Wolf Kahn, Who Painted Vibrant Landscapes, Is Dead at 92. The New York Times. March 24, 2020.

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