Artist Biography: Wolf Kahn

Wolf Kahn

Born in Stuttgart in 1927, Wolf Kahn fled Germany at age 12 and moved to the United States in 1940. After attending the High School of Music and Art in New York City, he continued his studies at the Hans Hofmann School, becoming Hofmann’s studio assistant. His native tongue was often an advantage in Hofmann’s classroom, as he frequently translated the teachers’ signature mix of German and English for his fellow students. After over two years of training under Hofmann, Kahn later relocated to Chicago where he received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Chicago.

Influenced by Hofmann’s practice of using nature as the starting point for a painting, Kahn’s work encompasses both pictorial landscape and painterly abstraction. Converging color and light to create atmospheric and sensual pictorial fields, his paintings evoke the ethereal world of nature even when they are non-representational. Although they are a departure in temperament from Hofmann’s “explosive” compositions, Kahn’s paintings incorporate many of Hofmann’s principles of chromatic tension and movement. Often juxtaposing saturated magentas, pinks and oranges with cool, muted pastels, Kahn achieves a balance that transports the viewer into his tranquil world.

Kahn has received honors such as the Fulbright Scholarship, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His works are in the permanent collections of major museums, including the National Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He recently returned to Germany for the first time since his childhood for an exhibition of his pastels at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg.


1947-49 Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art
1949-51 University of Chicago

1963 Purchase Award, Ford Foundation
1963-65 Fulbright Scholar Award to Italy
1966 Guggenheim Fellowship
1998 Lifetime Achievement Award, Vermont Council on the Arts

National Board of the College Art Association
National Academy of Design Board Member
American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters

Selected Exhibitions:
1957 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Also 1958, 1960, 1961
Jewish Museum, New York, NY
De Moines Art Center, IA
1958 Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York, NY
1958-60 University of Illinois Biennial, IL
1959 Corcoran Gallery Biennial, New York, NY
1961 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, PA. Also 1962, 1965.
1962 Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art, TX
1963 Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Kansas City Art Institute, OH
1964 Cincinnati Museum of Art
1971-72 Americans in Europe, American Federation of the Arts
1972 New England Art, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Chrysler Museum
1979 Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Corcoran Gallery, New York, NY
1970s Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, NY
Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX
1979 Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
1985 San Francisco Museum of Art, CA
1987 San Diego Museum of Art, CA
1990 Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art, FL
1993 Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France
Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston, MA
1994 Nerberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase, NY
Art 25, Basel, Switzerland
The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA
Selected Exhibitions Continuted:
1994 Cove Gallery, Wellfleet, MA
1995 Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston, MA
Stremmel Gallery, Reno, NV
Grace Borgenicht Gallery, NY
Carone Gallery, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Marianne Friedland Gallery, Naples, FL
Gallery 30, Burlingame, CA
Walker Kornbluth Gallery, Fairlawn, NJ
Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, MO
1996 Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL
Rediscovering the Landscapes of the Americas, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1998 Centennial Exhibition, American Academy of Arts & Letters, New York, NY
1999 Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA
Works on Paper, New York, NY
Art Palm Beach ’99, Palm Beach, FL
Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charleston, SC
2000 Addison/Ripley Gallery, Washington, DC
Beadleston Gallery, New York, NY
Kunsthaus Buhler, Stuttgart, Germany
Fifty Years of Pastels, Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, NC
Museum Fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany
2001 Galerie Brokstedt, Hamburg, Germany
Connecticut Graphic Arts Center, Norwalk, CT
Drabinsky & Friedland Gallery, Toronto, ONT
Marianne Friedland Gallery, Naples, FL
Museum fur Kunst und Gerwerbe, Hamburg, Germany
Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, VA
Thomas Segal Gallery, Baltimore, MD
Stremmel Gallery, Reno, NV
2002 Ameringer Howard Yohe Fine Art, Boca Raton, FL
Beadleston Gallery, New York, NY
2003 Wolf Kahn: Continuity and Change, Paintings and Works on Paper 1958-66, Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York, NY
2004 Wolf Kahn: Recent Paintings, Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York, NY
2005 Wolf Kahn, Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York, NY
2006 Vision in Granite, The Banks Gallery, Portsmouth, NH
2007 Yosemite – Art of an American Icon, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
Wolf Kahn: Sizing Up: Part II, Pastels, Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York, NY
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
National Academy of Design, Washington, DC
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Whitney Museum, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
The Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY
The Jewish Museum, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL
Memorial Gallery and Permanent Collection, University of Rochester, NY
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Minnesota Museum of American Art, MN
Houston Museum of Fine Arts, TX
St. Louis Museum of Art, MO
Dallas Museum of Art, TX
Cleveland Museum of Art, OH
Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, NC
Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, NH
Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
New Orleans Museum of Art, LA
Springfield Museum of Art, OH
The State University of New York, Purchase, NY
University of California at Berkeley, CA
University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
University of Nebraska, NE
Williams College, Boston, MA
Worcester Art Museum, MA