Walt Kuhn, American (1877 - 1949)

 
1877 Born
New York, NY
Along with Arthur B. Davis he organized the landmark Armory Show of 1913. Best known for his description of circus performers, although he did landscapes and still lifes as well as many pen and ink nudes.
Examples of his work can be found in numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago

Selected Exhibitions
1966 Painter of Vision: A Retrospective Exhibition of Oils, Watercolors and Drawings by Walt Kuhn, University of Arizona Art Gallery Tucson, AZ
1921 Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings Showing the Later Tendencies in Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Philadelphia, PA

A painter and major organizer of the Armory Show, Walt Kuhn is perhaps best known for his circus figure-clown depictions. They were unique in that he treated his subjects as human beings conditioned to specialized jobs. He also painted still lifes and some landscapes. He was inspired and influenced by many artists, most notably Paul Cezanne. And like Cezanne, he destroyed many of his canvases, saving only about a dozen paintings a year.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York with the name William but in 1900 first used the name "Walt" when illustrating magazines in San Francisco. He studied at the Royal Academy in Munich from 1901 to 1903 and returned to New York where he worked as a cartoonist and magazine illustrator.

He was associated with "The Eight" and with Arthur B. Davies, was a the key figure in forming the American Association of painters and Sculptors that organized the Armory Show of 1913 that introduced modernist European art to America. Kuhn was executive secretary of the Association and traveled abroad to select entries for the Armory Show.

In 1941, he was granted a press pass to all of the Madison Square Garden performances of the Ringling Brothers Circus, which reinforced his focus on that subject matter.


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