Kahn, who immigrated to the United States at age thirteen, studied with Stuart Davis (at the New School for Social Research) and with Hans Hofmann, and in 1951 he completed a B.A. at the University of Chicago. Back in New York in 1952, Kahn and several other Hofmann students organized the Hansa Gallery, a cooperative named for their teacher. Avoiding a specific aesthetic program, the Hansa artists, who numbered ten to fifteen members at a time, tended toward either painterly realism with expressionist overtones (Kahn and Alan Kaprow) or found-object constructivism (Richard Stankiewicz and John Chamberlain). In the 1960s the bright colors and energetic brushwork characteristic of Kahn’s Hansa years gave way to muted tones, simplified compositions, and quiet paint handling. Kahn sees his landscapes as meditations on the world in which color relates light with subject, and in which horizons, nature’s dividing lines, are seamless fusions between sky and land. The re-cipient of Fulbright and Guggenheim grants, Kahn has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, at the Cooper Union Art School, and at Dartmouth College.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)