Bob Paul Kane

American (1937–2013)

About the artist:

Bob Paul Kane was born in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child he attended the Cleveland Museum School, where he received his initial exposure to drawing and painting, and later at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1953-54. In 1955 he enrolled in Cornell University, but left after a year to pursue painting, heading to Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he met the sculptor Chaim Gross. The two developed a close relationship, and Kane returned with the Gross family back to New York in the fall of 1956. At Gross’ encouragement, he began studying at the Art Students League of New York, as well as for a one year scholarship to Pratt Institute in 1958.

At the Art Students League, Kane studied with George Grosz, as well as Will Barnet, who would become one of his greatest influences. Barnet’s class was where he met the Belgian student Eva Marie Honigman, in 1961, whom he married three years later. She worked as a textile designer, and her bold sense of color and design inspired him. “She is by far the greatest influence on me. When I first met her, her French feeling for gaiety impressed me and has become a major part of my work.”

Kane is known for this synthesis of a colorful impressionist palette with a decidedly American sensibility. His works are full of lively brushwork and spontaneity, described by critic Richard J. Boyle as a “fast and furious style of painting.” MoMA Curator John Elderfield notes that Kane’s paintings “look back through Philip Guston’s coloration and seek to pursue the brightness and freedom associated with Henri Matisse’s palette.”

From Will Barnet, Kane learned structure and control of space and depth but his most quintessential passion was for color.[1]:26 Barnet says of Kane: "The very first time I saw Bob Kane's work I recognized his unique talent. His painting had an energy and an explosive force. This combined with an underlined passion for nature in all its elements has dominated his work throughout his career.”

He was first and foremost inspired by travels to beach towns in the Mediterranean, where he soaked in sensuous subject matter, laden with intense light and color. He often painted with watercolor on location and then created oil paintings back in his New York studio. On painting en plein air, Kane says, “I have been lucky in my studios, my one in Rome was a café across from the Pantheon and in Venice a gondoliere offered me his gondola when he was not using it.”

His travels took him to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Morocco, specifically cities such as Nice, Positano, Naples, Cannes, and Venice. Visits to Nice’s Marché aux Fleurs, for instance, inspired the artist’s flower still lifes.

On his approach, Kane says, “I have tried to eliminate a vase sitting on a table, but rather make the flowers surround you as in a garden yet maintaining the logic of the picture plane and structure, and this concept is with me in all my compositions. The problem for the figurative painter, I believe, is to capture the wildness of abstraction and use it to give life to the objects he loves.”

Bob Paul Kane

American (1937–2013)

(2 works)

About the artist:

Bob Paul Kane was born in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child he attended the Cleveland Museum School, where he received his initial exposure to drawing and painting, and later at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1953-54. In 1955 he enrolled in Cornell

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