Archives of American Art

Oral history interview with Wolf Kahn

Collection ID:
Kahn, Wolf, 1927-2020
Cummings, Paul
1977 Nov. 28-1978 Jan. 6
Physical Description:
2 Sound tape reels
Sound recording
5 in.
169 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Interview with Wolf Kahn, conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in his New York City studio, on November 28, 1977 and January 16, 1978.
Scope and Contents
Kahn speaks of being raised by his grandparents in Germany in the 1930s; coming to England via the children's transport prior to the outbreak of World War II; emigrating to the US after the war; joining the Navy; his art classes at the Hofmann School; his early exhibitions in New York and involvement at the Hansa Gallery; living in Oregon; his artistic influences, including Bonnard, Van Gogh, Kokoschka, and Soutine; the New York art scene in the 1950s, including at the Artists' Club; meeting his wife Emily; the change in his style after visiting Venice; his use of colors and pastels; exhibiting at Grace Borgenicht's Gallery; his experiences teaching art at Haystack and other schools; the idea of the "problem" in formalist art; his working methods; and his impressions of contemporary art and art students. Kahn also recalls Barnett Newman, Meyer Schapiro, Franz Klein, Willem de Kooning, Stuart Davis, Hans Hofmann, Joan Mitchell, Felix Pasilis, Clement Greenberg, Stefan Wolpe, Allan Kaprow, Fairfield Porter, Tom Hess, Richard Bellamy, Grace Borgenicht, Frank O'Hara, Milton Avery, Jim Dine, and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Wolf Kahn (1927-2020) was a painter from New York, N.Y.

Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Digital Content

More Information
Sound quality is poor.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painting, American Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001