American, 1927-2020

Barn at the Edge of the Woods III

1973, oil on canvas
signed W. Kahn lower right; titled and dated verso
36 x 52 in., 37 x 53 in.

  • Provenance: Harcus Kracow Gallery, Boston, MA; purchased from the above by a Massachusetts Lady, ca. 1973-5.

    This striking Wolf Kahn landscape has remained in the same family since it was purchased soon after it was painted in 1973. The work represents a significant turning point for the artist, as it was in the early 70s that he moved away from the muted, tonal palette to the arrestingly bright colors for which he is best known. In the 1950s and 60s, Kahn's landscapes were dominated by greys, blues, and purples, built up into dense, textured compositions. In 1968, Khan and his wife bought a farm in West Brattleboro, Vermont, spending their summers painting en plein air. The foggy atmospheres of his 1960s works gave way to an explosion of color in the early 1970s, with bright yellows and rich purples dominating his oeuvre and barns becoming a constant theme, adding hints of man-made geometry to the natural landscape. Barn at the Edge of the Woods epitomizes this shift, with the bold goldenrod foreground in harmonious concert with the vibrant purple highlights in the trees.

    Khan's maturing style of the early 70s was celebrated in a November 19, 1972 New York Times review of the artist's show at the Grace Borgenicht Gallery in New York. Of the artist, Peter Schjeldahl wrote, "He is an artist concerned primarily with the direct, sensual experience of color…his colors are brilliant and often searing - hot magenta shadows and grass of acidic yellow-green. These are not colors that sunlight finds in nature: they are colors that an aroused sensibility finds, with joy, in the act of painting."

    The aroused sensibility seen in Kahn's interpretation of the landscape that Schjeldahl observed in 1972 is still felt today when examining the artist's works from this period. With arresting, invigorating colorwork, Barn at the Edge of the Woods invites the viewer into Kahn's perspective with an intimacy and immediacy that feels as fresh as it did when the work was painted fifty years ago.
  • Condition: Overall good condition.

    Please note: All property is sold "AS IS" and any statement, whether oral or written, is given as a courtesy and shall not be deemed as a guarantee, warranty, or representation of the authenticity of authorship, physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, provenance, exhibitions, literature or historical relevance of the property or otherwise. The absence of a condition report does not imply the item is in perfect condition.

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May 6, 2023 11:00 AM EDT
Boston, MA, US

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