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.
His mother 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.
He fondly 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.
It took 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 country.
Kohn 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.
Kohn's 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
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