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collections > permanent collections > drawings >WOLF KAHN
 
Wolf Kahn
(American, b. Germany, 1927)
Sour Magenta, 2000
Pastel on paper, 8” x 10”
Gift of the Frank and Margaret Sullivan Fund (2002.061)

Echoing Abstract Expressionist color field painters, Wolf Kahn utilizes broad areas of color to express emotion and mood.  Yet he regularly invokes traditional subject matter, especially landscape.  The Museum’s pastel, Sour Magenta, is typical of the artist’s work, and depicts bright swaths of magenta over green.  A few vertical marks suggest a screen of trees, leading the viewer to resolve the composition as a pink sunset over a wooded hillside.  Kahn’s colors are stridently unnatural, however, and push the boundaries of realism to the edge of abstraction. 

Kahn was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1927.  Arriving in the United States in 1940, he attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City.  Kahn afterwards studied with artist and theorist Hans Hofmann, and at one point served as his studio assistant.  In 1951, Kahn graduated from the University of Chicago after completing his coursework in only one year.  He gained increasing recognition during the decade, and by the 1960s, he had arrived at his mature style.  Today Kahn’s work is represented in a number of major public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York City.