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Peter (Hans Peter) Kahn

 (1921 - 1997)
Peter (Hans Peter) Kahn was active/lived in New York, British Columbia / Canada.  Peter Kahn is known for graphics, painting, teaching.

Peter (Hans Peter) Kahn

Biography from the Archives of askART

Peter Kahn (1921 – 1997)

Hans Peter Kahn was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1921, to Emil Kahn, a composer and conductor, and to Nellie Budge Kahn, poet and harpist. In Germany Kahn attended the original Waldorf School and The Stuttgart Gymnasium. When conditions became untenable, Kahn left Germany in 1937 at the age of sixteen for New York City, rejoining his father. He worked as a window designer at Bamberger’s, attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn under a scholarship. He later worked as a union organizer and commercial graphics designer. In 1942, he joined the US Army.

After active duty in Europe, Kahn served as an interpreter in the early stages of the Nuremberg Trials and returned to New York in 1945. He then studied at the Art Students League with Vaslov Vytlacil. He also took advantage of a scholarship to the Hans Hofmann School given him by the painter/teacher. In 1947 he met and married children’s book writer Ruth Stiles Gannett. When Hofmann’s School became eligible for the GI Bill, Kahn and other returning soldier/artists enrolled with the master teacher. Kahn was his assistant in Hofmann’s Provincetown school in 1949. In addition, Kahn received an undergraduate degree in art in 1950 and a Master’s degree in Philosophy in 1952 from New York University.

Kahn taught art during the summer program at Sarah Lawrence College in 1949 and, from 1952-54, at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He accepted the Chairmanship of the Art Department at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Virginia.

In 1957, Kahn accepted a tenure-track position in the Fine Arts Department at Cornell University and moved with his wife and five daughters to a farm in Etna, New York. He taught painting, graphic arts, and calligraphy, producing two books on calligraphy as a teaching tool. He also produced theater sets for campus productions and, by various graphic techniques, numerous political posters and announcements of Cornell concerts and lectures. Kahn entered a period of prolific production in his large Etna studio, including the birth of two more daughters. Over the years, the Kahn’s farmhouse and gardens became the Sunday destination for a number of subsequently well-known Cornell students, including Richard Farina, Gordon Matta, Thomas Pynchon and C. Michael Curtis.

In addition to his regular schedule, Kahn served as Chair of the Advanced Placement in Art Program with the Educational Testing Service (1970-74) and as a visiting artist and teacher at the University of Virginia, the London Royal College of Art, Cal Tech, New York University and Hobart College.

In 1968, in part in response to the Vietnam War, Kahn moved his family to the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where he taught book arts, painting and art history. In 1970, Kahn returned to Cornell University in the History of Art Department. There he taught art history courses such as “The History of the Book” and “The History of the Technique of Making Art” as well as numerous cross-disciplinary courses with colleagues in philosophy, music and literature.

Following his formal retirement in 1984, Kahn was much in demand for Cornell’s summer alumni program, teaching summer courses and leading several art history tours: one to London and Paris, another to Holland and Belgium. He and his wife Ruth also spent 1985-86 in Hamburg, Germany setting up the Cornell Abroad Program at Hamburg University. At his barn studio and print shop in Trumansburg, New York, Kahn continued to teach painting techniques, typography, calligraphy and print making. He also continued to paint, to make woodcuts and book illustrations as well as posters and theater sets. He was a committed member of the Trumansburg Volunteer Fire Department for twenty years until his death [heart attack] on duty in 1997.
One-man Shows
1951 Drawings, Paintings and Graphics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

1958 Paintings and Drawings, Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

1962 Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Andrew Dickson White House, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

1962 Paintings, Drawings and Prints, IIT, Chicago, IL

1962 Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Gallery RJ, New York, NY

1967 Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Andrew Dickson White House, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

1968 Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Upstairs Gallery, Ithaca, NY

1969 Retrospective, Alfred University, Alfred, NY

1970 Paintings, Upstairs Gallery, Ithaca, NY
1974 Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Upstairs Gallery, Ithaca, NY

1980 Paintings, Malott Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

1983 Paintings and Prints, Artworks, Sibley, Rochester, NY

1984 Retrospective, Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

1985 Paintings, Upstairs Gallery, Ithaca, NY

1990 Paintings, Upstairs Gallery, Ithaca, NY

1994 Retrospective, Wells College, Aurora, NY

1995 Woodcuts, Sola Gallery, Ithaca, NY

Group Shows: 1940s and 1950s
Paintings from Cold Water Flats, Seligmann Gallery, New York, NY

Watercolors of Today, The Research Studio, courtesy of Seligmann Gallery, NY, Maitland, FL
 47th Annual Watercolor & Prints Exhibit, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Introducing the Printmakers, Contemporary American Department, Seligmann Gallery, New York, NY

Printmakers, Seligmann Gallery, New York, NY

Modern Prints, Ashby Gallery, New York, NY

Pyramid Group, Ashby Gallery, New York, NY

Printmakers, Ink and Oils, Seligmann Gallery, New York, NY

American Painting, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA

Group Shows: 1960s through 1990s
1962 Group Show, Gallery RJ, New York, NY

1962 Art of Doors, Kornblee Gallery, New York, NY

1963 Art Festival, Cortland State University, Cortland, NY

1964 Two Rivers (with Victor Colby), Robertson, Binghamton, NY

1968 Paintings by Peter Kahn (sculpture by Bill Schickel), Upstairs Gallery, Ithaca, NY

1968 Wolf and Peter Kahn, Gallery 121, Ithaca, NY

1969 From the Collection, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

1983 Upstate New York, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

1989 3 Landscape Painters, Kahn, Poskas and Lyman, Washington Art Association, Washington, CT

1996 7 over 65, Kraushaar Gallery, New York, NY

1997 3 Men, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

1997 All in a Family: Peter Kahn, Wolf Kahn, Emily Mason, David Kapp and Cecily Kahn, New Britain Museum of Art, New Britain, CT

Source: H. Peter Kahn website

Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke

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About  Peter (Hans Peter) Kahn

Born:  1921 - Leipzig, Germany
Died:   1997 - Trumansburg, New YOrk
Known for:  graphics, painting, teaching