WALT KUHN

(American, 1877-1949)

PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG WOMAN

Oil on Canvas

30 x 25 Inches

Signed Lower Right

Displayed in a gilt-wood frame.

 

A psychologically-penetrating study of a young woman, shown seated in a red-and-black striped shirt and shown directly engaging the viewer. Kuhn has created a bravura work of portraiture with almost vertiginous movement swirling around the implacably compressed energy of his subject.

 

Walt Kuhn began his artistic career as a cartoonist for Life Magazine before taking up painting as a full-time profession in 1910.  Educated at the Academy Colarossi in Paris and the Kunst Academy in Munich, Kuhn also studied in Holland, Italy, and Spain.  After returning to the United States, he taught at both the Art Students' League and the New York School of Art.

 

With A.B. Davies, Kuhn was a leading organizer of New York's 1913 Armory Show, but he remained unswayed by many of the European art-movements of the 20th century and has come to be regarded as a fundamentally 'American' artist for his judicious approach to modernism. Kuhn was inspired and influenced by many artists, notably Paul Cezanne. Like Cezanne, Kuhn was a hard task-master and destroyed the majority of his own canvases.

 

During his lifetime, Kuhn exhibited widely and with success, including at  the Beaux Arts Gallery (1928);  the San Francisco Art Association (1930); the Harriman Gallery (1930-41) and the Galley Durand-Ruel (1943-5).  In addition, he exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum; the Cincinnati Museum; the Detroit Inst. of Arts; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Boston Museum; the Museum of Modern Art (NY) and the Whitney Museum (NY). Additionally, the artist was granted a posthumous one-man retrospective at the Cincinnati Art Museum (1960).

 

Walt Kuhn's work is held in the permanent collections of art museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum (NY), the Museum of Modern Art (NY); the Dublin Museum, Ireland;  the Addison Gallery of American Art; the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts; the Art Institute of Chicago and the Los Angeles County Museum, among others.

 

Reference:

Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs, Vol. VIII, p. 74; Art Across America, Gerdts, Vol. I, p. 410; Who Was Who in American Art, Falk, Vol. II, p. 1914; Artists in California 1786-1940, Hughes, Vol. I, p. 647; et al.

 

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