Wolf Kahn (1927-2020)
Winter River, 1988
Etching on paper
5.75 x 23.75 inches
Framed Dimension: 14h x 33w x 1.50d inches
Kahn produces a kind of contrast that energizes the surface of the paper while simultaneously creating a sense of balance and serenity in this work. His subject matter is rooted in reality, but his abstract methods of representation reveal a unique dynamic between representational painting and abstract principles.
Wolf Kahn is known for his fusion of color, spontaneity and loose brush strokes, which create the luminous and vibrant atmospheric landscapes and color fields. Kahn’s unique blend of American Realism and the formal discipline of Color Field painting sets his work apart from his contemporaries.
According to his painting student J. Steven Manolis, when Kahn traveled, he always painted with pastels because they were easy to transport. He also started his painting day with a 2-3 hour session of pastels. Kahn would say, "Pastels are my calisthenics before painting with oils on canvas." He would joke, "I breathe, I pastel." He considered pastel to be the "equivalent of dust from butterflies wings." His pastel technique would include placing the pastel on paper and then rubbing and smearing the pastel on the paper with his fingertips.
Almost all Wolf Kahn oil paintings were scaled up versions of an earlier pastel. Most art historians and art critics consider Wolf Kahn to be one of the most significant pastel artists ever, and certainly since Degas.