Scott Kahn - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Scott Kahn’s oeuvre is a constellation of mystical, melancholic, delightfully bizarre landscapes and scenes which could be of this world as well as of otherworldly spatial and temporal dimensions. His delicate, pensive paintings are imbued with an intrinsic sentiment of nostalgia and an extraordinary, thoroughly comforting sense of tenderness. The American artist’s fame has grown exponentially since 2018, when the late Canadian painter Matthew Wong bought one of his artworks – Cul de Sac (2017) – and posted it on his Instagram feed. At that time, Wong was starting to establish a name for himself in the art world, after his successful solo show at Karma Gallery in New York. The two painters, who had begun to know each other through a virtual correspondence on Facebook several years before Wong’s acquisition of Kahn’s piece, shared a similar self-taught painting style, influenced by nature and magical realism.


    Lot 124 - Brighton Beach, executed in 2006, depicts a postcardlike littoral landscape, in which the shades of blue that compose the sky and the sea transmit a fresh, crisp, vibrant character to the marine scenery. The numerous sailboats across the sea surface, the kites in the sky, and the slight rippling water suggest the presence of a pleasant, delicate breeze. The fleecy clouds which dominate the scene conjure a dreamy, soft aura of celestial lyricism.


    Brighton Beach, New York


    Kahn currently resides in upstate New York, but lived in a sea-view flat in Brighton, East Sussex, for a period of time: the title Brighton Beach could therefore refer to Brighton Beach in New York or to its British homonym. A parallel can be drawn between the 2006 painting’s peaceful and soothing ambience and that of Brighton Beach by John Constable, made in 1824. In both artworks, the viewer is granted a lateral perspective on the scene, and the tiny human figures scattered along the sandy shore and engaged in recreational activities – whose features are barely distinguishable – add a cheerful, lively atmosphere to the depiction, brightened up by the clear light of the sunny day.


    John Constable, Brighton Beach (1824)


    Lot 123 - Elise’s Garden (1988) fondly portrays a garden of remembrance dedicated to a woman whose identity is unknown, but for whom the viewer can experience a wistful sense of longing through the subtle, graceful homage paid to her memory by Kahn’s artwork. The name alludes to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Bagatelle No. 25 (1810) commonly as Für Elise, one of the most famous compositions of the German musician. The piece, written in A minor, is characterised by a sombre, compassionate tone, similarly conveyed in Kahn’s execution of Elise’s memorial garden. The shadows cast by the trees seem to evoke the inexorable passing of time, while the stones which delimit the flowerbed and form the cobbled path are so carefully painted that they seem to possess an identity of their own. The lush green lawn, the warm sunlight, the daintily painted plants and flowers transmit a sense of optimism and hope for new beginnings.


    Born in 1946 in Springfield, Massachusetts, Kahn has only recent received his much-deserved global recognition: he studied at Rutgers University and had a moment of fame in the 1990s, followed by fifteen years of oblivion. His career was reignited in 2018 thanks to Wong’s endorsement. In 2021, he held two sold-out solo shows at Almine Rech in Paris (18 November 2021 – 18 December 2021) and Harper Levine in New York (18 February 2021 – 26 March 2021). His most recent exhibition, “The Walled City” at Almine Rech in New York (3 May 2021 – 14 June 2021) includes a selection of 15 works made between 1988 and 2022.

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Scott Kahn

      Scott Kahn (b. 1946) is an American painter. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from Rutgers University. He is now best known for the explosion of his own market on the international stage late in his career and over the last five years. His subject matter reflects the people and places of America, primarily influenced by the bucolic landscapes and daily life of the northeast, USA.

      Kahn has been a recipient of awards from the Pollock Krasner Foundation and a residency at the Edward Albee Foundation in Montauk. His work is included in major corporations and two museums in China, including the Long Museum, and the ICA Miami in Florida. His work is in the collection of the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater.

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Brighton Beach

signed and dated 'S. Kahn '06' lower right
oil on canvas
40.6 x 50.8 cm. (15 7/8 x 20 in.)
Painted in 2006, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Full Cataloguing

HK$450,000 - 650,000 

Sold for HK$567,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022