Max Kahn Biography

Max Kahn




Max Kahn, painter, printmaker, sculptor, and educator, was born on March 15, 1902 in Slonim, Belarus and he immigrated with his family to the United States in 1907. After studying art at Bradley University in Peoria, Kahn moved to Paris for two years where he studied sculpture with Charles Despiau, Antonie Bourdelle, and drawing with Othon Friesz. When he returned to the U.S., he studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1935 he met Eleanor Coen, fellow painter and printmaker, whom he eventually married.

Kahn was a registered artist with the WPA and was head of Chicago's WPA Graphic Art Department. He taught printmaking at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1944 to 1959 and then at the University of Chicago between 1959 and 1969. He also taught printmaking at Escuela Universitaria de Bellas Artes in Mexico.

With the encouragement of Carl Zigrosser, Kahn joined the cadre of artists represented by the Weyhe Gallery in New York City and, in 1946, the gallery mounted an exhibition of his color lithography which has been referred to as the largest solo exhibition of color lithographs in this country. He also had solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1943, the Princeton Print Club in 1947, the Smithsonian Institution in 1952, and the Art Institute of Chicago in 1954. Kahn's work was included in the 1939 New York World's Fair exhibition, American Art Today, and the annual exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1947-51, 1958, and 1960.

Kahn's work is represented in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Baltimore Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Carnegie Institute; Cincinnati Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Arts; Joslyn Art Museum, University of Nebraska; Metropolitan Museum, New York; National Gallery, Washington; New York Public Library; Newark Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota; Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene.

Max Kahn died on 29 May 2005, at the age of 103, in Chicago, Illinois.