Misch Kohn Biography

Misch Kohn




Misch Kohn, painter and printmaker, was born Harris Kohn in Kokomo, Indiana on March 26, 1916, to Russian immigrants. Kohn studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis earning his B.F.A. in 1939. There was no printmaking department until Kohn’s final year of study when Max Kahn and Francis Chapin arrived from the Art Institute of Chicago to set up a graphic workshop. After graduation, he relocated to Chicago and found work as a draftsman on the WPA.

In November 1943, Kohn left for a year in Mexico. While there he worked at the Taller de Grafica Popular with artists Pablo O’Higgins, Alfredo Zalce and Leopoldo Mendez. Kohn returned to Chicago in 1945 and was teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago when he met visiting artist Stanley William Hayter, who had re-established Atelier 17 in New York. In 1949, he began a twenty-two year career teaching printmaking at the Institute of Design. In 1950 the Kohns traveled to Europe, visiting printshops that Hayter introduced them to.

In 1961, he was invited to work at June Wayne’s Tamarind Lithographic Workshop in Los Angeles and, in 1971, after quitting his post in Chicago in protest of the forced resignation of a colleague he accepted the position of Professor at California State Hayward in Hayward, California and relocated to Castro Valley. Kohn’s work was honored with countless awards and is represented in the collections of the Akron Art Institute, Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York Public Library, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France and Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

Misch Kohn died in Castro Valley, California on February 12, 2003.