Late career American painter Scott Kahn has shot into the art world limelight after five decades of painting dreamlike landscapes and interiors.Read More
Scott Kahn was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1946. Kahn studied Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1967. He then relocated to New York where he spent a year as a student of abstract expressionist painter Theodoros Stamos at The Art Students League. Since completing his MFA at Rutgers University in 1970, Kahn has exhibited regularly in the New York art world.
Kahn lives in New Rochelle, New York and works from his Brooklyn studio.
Scott Kahn is known for his intricate landscape paintings, drawing inspiration from his local community, his memory and his imagination. This combination of influences creates a dream-like reflection of American life. Khan has described this process as making a 'visual diary' of his experiences.
Kahn's vivid canvases recall the naivety of Henri Rousseau and the surrealism of Rene Magritte, especially in his works incorporating figures inspired by people the artist has encountered. His oil paintings are brimming with poetics, suggesting a psychological interpretation of his subject matter of mysterious dreamscapes and portraits. Nevertheless, the artist has expressed a lack of direct influences or source material, saying in an interview, 'it is best to have no gods'.
Kahn identifies his correspondence with the late, self-taught abstract painter Matthew Wong as a turning point in his career. Bonding over a shared interest in magical realism and nature, the artists inspired each other and championed each other's work. Kahn's career was catapulted after Wong posted a photo of Cul de Sac (2017) on his Instagram in 2018. This other-worldly night scene sparked the interest of collectors, galleries and artists, bringing Kahn's illusory images long-awaited fame and recognition.
Scott Kahn's paintings are featured in private collections and public museums in the United States and China, including the Long Museum, Shanghai; ICA Miami, Florida; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Moss Thorns Gallery of Art, Hays, Kansas; and the Dallas Art Museum, Texas. His work is also present in many prominent corporate collections.
Scott Kahn's practice has been recognised many times throughout his prolific career, most notably as an Artist-in-Residence from 1975 to 1977 at the Edward Albee Foundation in Montauk, New York and by grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation in 1986 and 1995.
Scott Kahn has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.
Solo exhibitions include: The Walled City, Almine Rech, New York (2022); Diary Continued, Harper's Books, Easthampton, New York (2019); Diary, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York (2019); and Personal Space: Paintings by Scott Kahn, Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2004).
Group exhibitions include: Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami's Collection, ICA Miami, Florida (2022); Sit Still in the Age of Distraction, Anna Zorina Gallery (2020); The Circus Has Been Cancelled, Harper's, Easthampton, New York (2020); BIG PAINTING, Patrick Parris Gallery, New York (2020); and Oh, Beautiful, The American Landscape, National Arts Club, New York (2019).
The artist made his major auction debut with Cadman Plaza (2002) at Phillips in Hong Kong in November 2021, selling at six times the low estimate. Scott Kahn's works have since featured regularly for sale at auction houses in Hong Kong, New York, and London. His auction record at time of writing was for Big House, Homage to America (2012) at Christie's Hong Kong on 26 May 2022, hammering for HKD 9,000,000, or over 1,000,000 USD.
Scott Kahn's website can be found here and his Instagram can be found here.
Articles on Scott Kahn have been published in various publications, including Artnet, Numéro, and Whitehot Magazine.
Rachel Kubrick | Ocula | 2023