Max Arthur Cohn

born London, England 1903-died New York City 1998
Also known as
  • Max Cohn
London, England
New York, New York, United States
  • American

Best known as a pioneer in screenprints, Max Arthur Cohn was born to Russian immigrants in London, in 1903, and moved with his family to New York City in 1905. He got his first art-related job creating commercial silkscreens when he was seventeen. Cohn began to experiment with silkscreening on his own and later exhibited his prints in New York City and Washington, D.C., in the 1930s and '40s. During the Great Depression, he also worked as an easel painter for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal program that supported artists by providing them with a small stipend. In the 1950s, Cohn owned a graphic arts business in Manhattan, and is credited with teaching silkscreen techniques to a young Andy Warhol. Cohn coauthored several books on silkscreening, including the influential 1958 book Silk Screen Techniques, written with J. I. Bielgeleisen.

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.