Scott Kahn - New Now New York Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Painted in 1981, Scott Kahn’s Still Life with Mirror highlights the artist’s exquisite interpretation of magical realism. Painting from life and memory, Kahn’s paintings are a testament to his ability to find nostalgic, symbolic value in everyday scenes. By framing an empty mirror with familiar household objects, Kahn draws the viewers’ attention to where the viewer should be but isn’t, highlighting the importance of unspoken narratives in the present work. The themes of looking, solitude and introspection are central to Kahn’s practice and create an alluring in Still Life with Mirror.

    "I like the idea of two dimensional flat where you can make these otherworlds with perspective, form, color, and light." —Scott KahnThe reflective quality of Still Life with Mirror  is two-fold. On one level, the mirror reflects a warped image of the modest, neutral ground that the viewer is blind to otherwise. The dark table also reflects the two objects it supports: the more vibrant vase and table lamp. Kahn’s decision to replicate the ornate patterns of these objects onto the vanity allows Still Life with Mirror to dip into a fantastical, yet fragile, element of surreality. Each reflection seems to engage with its counterpart, and the apparent solitude of the scene is balanced by this aura of spirituality.  This balance is precisely Kahn’s goal. “You might say it’s a subtext. It’s the way it’s reported to the viewer that suggests something beyond what is actually being seen. If I’m really successful, the painting achieves some poetic transcendence."i


    In a similar tone to artists such as Matthew Wong and Vincent van Gogh, Scott Kahn’s empty space nevertheless evokes spiritual occupancy. Kahn’s “otherworlds” prompt the viewer to question the image’s relationship to memory and reality. His wide use of perspective and soft lighting also allow the viewer in, inviting them to explore every facet of the scene and to imagine a reality for themselves.

    i Scott Kahn, quoted in “Interviews we love: Scott Kahn,” RDN Arts, June 2, 2021, online.

    • 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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Still Life with Mirror

signed and dated “Scott Kahn '81” lower right; signed, titled and dated “STILL LIFE WITH MIRROR KAHN 1981” on the overlap
oil on linen
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm)
Painted in 1981.

Full Cataloguing

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $81,900

Contact Specialist

Avery Semjen
Head of Sale, New Now
212 940 1207

New Now

New York Auction 28 September 2022