American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Curator's Comments: We first spoke with Wolf Kahn after a talk at the
National Academy of Design, having been introduced by his close friend Annette
Blaugrund, then NAD curator. Kahn was speaking on a small work by Albert
Pinkham Ryder--which may seem strange--but the work, a swirling mass of
black and white called "The Storm," clearly had meaning for Kahn--who had a
deep apprehension of Ryder's imagination. We remember that Kahn used the
expression that "Nature makes color," not to signify that Nature acts as an artist
coloring the world with its hues--but in a deeper sense connected to his own
colorism--that color is the expression of  inherent natural process. And Kahn
has said that his master, Hans Hoffman, "encouraged students to regard color
as an independent entity," and he added,  which I still do." Kahn's masterpiece  
The North Pasture, which exemplifies the same dynamic--a vision that places him
well within the American landscape tradition--and perhaps as its ultimate
progenitor. Here Kahn shows us how the coming late storm gives rise to the
vibrant aquamarine hues of the pasture and its fences--and a gate that pulls the
eye into expanding layers of colors. Kahn's study of Kant's Prolegomena on
Beauty, which he says "really affirmed my own idea of absolute beauty," is
another element infusing his colorism, and is at work in his remark that "when
I'm painting a tree, if I start thinking of a branch and I paint it as a branch, it
doesn't become nearly as good as if I paint it as a brush stroke." The integrity of
the artistic process makes creation superior to description. This is  why we see
Kahn as standing at the end of the great landscape tradition rooted in luminism
Wolf Kahn ca. 1988
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The Cornfield at Dusk, 1983, Oil on Canvas,  42 x 22, Signed
Kahn came from a well-to-do German artistic family. His father was the
conductor of the Stuttgart Philharmonic Symphony;  his uncle owned a
Picasso--which Kahn, deciding to become an artist at age five, made a cartoon
of. Hitler's rise had Kahn first sent to England, and in 1940 he emigrated to
the United States. After wartime service, he entered Hans Hofmann's school,  
where  Kahn to formulated his unique way in of employing simplified
geometric designs while carefully contrasting bold pastels of color and tone.
His landscapes, which he is most recognized for, show him always in pursuit of
his intuitive sense of color and dedicated to the pursuit of a new and verdant
natural vision. Without question, Kahn is one of the most influential
American artists of our generation. Kahn's work is in the Smithsonian and the
Hirschorn, and can be found in the permanent collections of over 100
museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney.
We Offer Two Marvelous Wolf Kahn Landscapes
Don't say you weren't warned. After Wolf Kahn turned ninety in 2017, we told
you to buy Kahn because it was his best year ever! In 2018 we warned you again
that average Kahn sales were rocketing higher. In March of 2020, Kahn passed
away, and now his work has surpassed its record high, when his striking
masterpiece "Evening Encampment" sold for $162,815, 225% over the estimate.
The North Pasture, 1981, oil on canvas, 36 x 24, signed