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 an unfettered access to all the creative arts. His mother—a symphony violinist—and his father, a noted linguist and writer, encouraged their only child to explore the limits of his artistic talents. His childhood had few material possessions, but paintings, sculpture and books filled the family’s tiny, one-bedroom home. It was here he learned that creative arts are the only true wealth.
Always innovative in drawing and painting, Kohn’s professional art education began at 15 when he was chosen to apprentice in the studios of Moscow’s most esteemed Impressionist and Social Realist artists. His art education corresponded with an eruption of cultural progress in all the arts, including ballet, literature, music and painting.
He followed his apprenticeships with a classical art education at the University of Moscow where he studied with members of the last great generation of Russian Impressionists. He fondly remembers the majesty of the University. “The experience was totally unique,” he says. “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 Kohn’s mature, fresh figurative painting style. His first one-man show created instant interest in his work and helped introduce Kohn to audiences in his adopted country. Today, Kohn is a preeminent leader of Figurative Impressionism which seeks to capture the complexity and simplicity 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 interpretation of form, his art education is enduring. From his home in Arizona, Kohn travels the world for inspiration and periodically returns to France to continue his formal, classical studies. Due to his travels, his widely popular style has a European influence with a Modern impressionist flare.
Kohn’s work is now represented by premier galleries in the United States (including his own), he is a regular contributor to invitational exhibitions and is a frequent subject of highly regarded art publications. His unique ability to communicate the expressiveness of the human form has kept him a mainstay in private, corporate and permanent museum collections worldwide. Andre resides and paints at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he also owns his own gallery: Andre Kohn Fine Art.