Wolf Kahn

The significant Color Field painter Wolf Kahn was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1927, before fleeing Germany in the face of Nazi oppression in 1943. After immigrating permanently to the United States in 1940, Kahn began his art studies under the eminent Abstract Expressionist Hans Hoffmann, who also employed Kahn to be his studio assistant. His colorful landscapes toe the line between abstraction and realism, depicting both his extensive travels and his more permanent residence in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Freeman’s has facilitated a number of highly successful sales of paintings by Kahn, including Overall Green, a forested landscape rendered in electric yellows, pinks, and greens, that nearly doubled its pre-sale high estimate in 2020 to achieve $93,750. Yellow Barn Half Hidden also exceeded its pre-sale estimates in 2019, selling for $43,750, as did Tall Pines, a mesmerizing, almost otherworldly landscape that achieved $40,625 in 2017.

Kahn’s unexpected use of color is one of the trademarks of his work: purple pines, yellow forests, pink mountains, and so forth. These landscapes—always on the edge of abstraction—are both immediately recognizable as such and eerily unfamiliar. This blurring of boundaries has created immense interest over time in Kahn’s work, which is featured in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among many others. His drive to create lasted up until his death; Kahn was a prolific painter, and leaves behind many works for future generations to discover.

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