Walt Kuhn (1877 - 1949)
Golden and Blue Bolero, 1946
Oil on canvas
24 x 20 inches
Signed and dated at center left: Walt Kuhn / 1946
17th Century Spanish style frame
Kennedy Galleries, New York
Dr. and Mrs. Mark S. Kauffman
Kennedy Galleries, New York, New York, 1972, Walt Kuhn, no. 6, illus.
University Gallery, University of Florida, Gainesville, 1979, The American Scene: Paintings by Twenty-Seven Artists of the 20th Century
Mac Nider Museum of Art, Mason City, Iowa, 1979, The American View, p. 36, no. 16, illus.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, 1996, The Idependents: The Ashcan School and Their Circle from Florida Collections, p. 100, no 76, illus.
Selby Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design, 2003, Sarasotans Collect II
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida, 2003-2004 circulating exhibition, American Modernism: Paintings from the Dr. and Mrs. Mark S. Kauffman Collection, show traveled to the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota and The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, no. 31
Philip Rhys Adams, Walt Kuhn, Painter: His Life and Work (1978), p. 274, no. 496
Valerie Ann Leeds, "The Independents: The Ashcan School and Their Circle from Florida Collections" in American Art Review (vol. VIII, no. 2, May 1996), p. 106, illus.
Walt Kuhn had significant effect of the history of American art as both a painter and as an organizer of the landmark 1913 Armory show in New York City, though he began his artistic career in a more commercial fashion. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Kuhn went on to study at the Royal Academy in Munich from 1901 to 1903. Upon returning to New York, he worked as a cartoonist and magazine illustrator.
Kuhn was always fascinated with the Circus as a theme, and was able to convey the dignity and pathos of these often marginalized figures. Stylistically Kuhn was influenced by the planar qualities of Paul Cezanne, and his portraits have an unflinching, direct quality that is thoroughly modern. Kuhn was also associated with the Eight and shared their interest in capturing “real life” in all its vagaries on canvas.
The present work, Golden and Blue Bolero, is a superb example of Kuhn’s bold portraits of performers and theatrics. Here, his anonymous subject is depicted frontally, holding a direct and unflinching gaze with the viewer. The modulated yet rich brown of the background and the black hair of the performer are contrasted with his luscious red shirt and golden and blue bolero named in the title. The muted background seems to heighten the theatrical effect of the costume, as does the figure’s impassive gaze and expression.