A Wolf Kahn
landscape is a visual layer cake of color: candy-pink forests, chartreuse hills, lavender skies, and aubergine shadows, all sprinkled or sometimes slathered with electric dashes of white. In his oil paintings, vivacious brushstrokes whiz and pop. His pastels are certainly more diffused but no less striking. Kahn’s brave palette and assured spontaneity of hand indicate an artist who has been at this most of his life.
Bold Color, 2011
His art was encouraged from a young age, and, after a series of moves brought him to the United States, Kahn (American, b. Germany 1927) attended an arts school in New York and later studied with abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann. In the following decades he helped found the cooperative Hansa Gallery, married artist Emily Mason, and developed his own representative style that sometimes dances with abstraction.
Kahn continues to paint constantly and exhibits annually, and this member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters is deepening his painterly exploration of darkness and light. “Age can be wasted on the aged,” Kahn says, “unless one’s capacity for wonder increases.”
Kahn is, undoubtedly, one of America’s foremost colorists. His landscapes
are bold and energetic, built with swaths of rich color that can seem incongruent with the natural elements depicted. Even when a stand of trees dissolves into a fiery, carrot-orange band
, it is still, clearly, a stand of trees. He occasionally punctuates his vistas with a barn or a cabin, and a winding path will sometimes appear, but these are not the focus. Kahn’s subject matter has long been, and continues to be, these lambent landscapes of color.
Clearing Capriccio, 2001
Overall Blue Green, 2014