Kohn Waterhouse Gallery
Retail Therapy (Series
24 x 12 Oil
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The precise convergence of three dynamic forces-culture, environment
and talent-combined to produce one of the most collected figurative
painters on the American art scene today. Raised by an artistically
gifted family near the Caspian Sea in southern Russia, Andre
Kohn's childhood was marked by the natural splendor of mountains
and sea, and by an unfettered access to all the creative arts.
was a symphony violinist and his father a noted linguist, writer
and sculptor. Both were educators trained in psychology who gave
their only child unrestricted opportunity to explore the depths
of art and his own obvious talent. Paintings, sculpture and books
filled the family's tiny, one-bedroom home. It was a childhood
without material possessions, but a childhood which taught him
that the creative arts are the only true wealth. Kohn's parents
also encouraged their son to draw on any surface-including the
wallpaper in their home-which they simply re-papered when he
grew old enough to favor sketchbooks. His memory of childhood
is that "music and art were everywhere.
While always innovative in drawing and painting, Kohn's professional
art education began at age 15 when he was chosen to apprentice
in the studios of Moscow's most esteemed Impressionist and Social
Realist artists. At that time, Impressionism in Russia was nearing
the end of a harmonic and prolific century-a prodigious period
in Russian art that literally changed the world. Kohn's childhood
and art education corresponded with an eruption of cultural progress
in all the arts, including ballet, literature, music and painting.
He was principally influenced by such artists as He followed
the apprenticeships with a classical art education at the University
of Moscow where he studied with members of the last great generation
of Russian Impressionists. With his talent already in evidence,
he quickly earned an invitation from the Artist's Union of Bulgaria
(Europe) to stage a prestigious one-man show in one of their
country's major exhibition halls. Still in his first year of
college, Kohn was the only student so honored for the year.
remembers the majesty of the University. "The experience
was totally unique," he has said. "The atmosphere was
one of huge columns, marble floors and masterworks on the walls.
Legends of the Russian art world walked the halls and discussed
your work. It was a privilege to be there, and it laid the foundation
for my entire career." However, fate soon dramatically redirected
the young artist's life and art. His father, a colonel in the
Russian Army, was the first candidate to participate in the post-Cold
War officer exchange program at the U.S. Air War College in Montgomery,
Alabama. In 1993, while Kohn was in America visiting his parents,
his father announced his intention to defect to the United States.
Suddenly, the young artist realized he would never again be permitted
to return to his homeland.
little time for American art audiences and media to discover
the mature, fresh figurative painting style of the young Russian.
His first one-man show in America created instant interest in
his work and helped introduce Kohn to audiences in his adopted
remains a preeminent leader of Figurative Impressionism which
seeks to capture the complexity as well as the simplicity and
directness of the human form. "I'm seeking my own unique,
poetic interpretation of the moment," he says. "I'm
striving to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Despite Kohn's unrepeatable pallet, personally developed style
and unique interpretations of form, his education is enduring.
From his home, Kohn travels the world for inspiration, periodically
returning to France to continue his formal, classical studies.
work is represented by premier galleries in the United States
and he is a regular contributor to invitational exhibitions.
Kohn is a frequent subject of highly regarded art publications,
and his unique ability to communicate the expressiveness of the
human form has kept him a mainstay of private, corporate and
permanent museum collections worldwide.
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an Andre Kohn painting
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