Andrzej Kuhn

Works
Biography

‘To me, painting is like a journey into an unknown world... in those far lands I meet strange people, creatures of the imagination. They are poets, fiddlers, sailors, tramps. Their heads are large and their bodies out of proportion... I set them on canvas, where they can live again, smoking their pipes, talking and wondering at this new existence.’ 

Andrzej Kuhn was born in Lvov, Poland in 1929. Following the Russian invasion of eastern Poland in 1940, Kuhn’s father was incarcerated and he and his mother and sister were deported to Kazakhstan. His mother died in a labour camp, and the children were placed in an orphanage. Kuhn arrived in England in 1947 and after a spell in the merchant navy went on to win a scholarship to the Chelsea School of Art. Kuhn exhibited his work extensively over the course of his artistic career, in galleries such as Ben Uri Gallery and Museum and Goldmark Gallery. Kuhn’s final exhibition before his death in 2014 was a retrospective entitled ‘Andrzej Kuhn at Eighty’ held at Goldmark Gallery in 2009. Kuhn’s paintings are in the collections of Clare College, University of Cambridge, Durham University and the University of York. Kuhn’s self-portraits are held in both the Original and Next Generation Collections of Ruth Borchard Collection. The former was acquired in 1963 and the latter in 2011.

Kuhn’s distinctive paintings capture an imaginative universe that Kuhn states is as real as our own. Kuhn’s lyrical images found their roots in a children’s book of fables and illustrative postage stamps he collected and found refuge in during his childhood exile. In his own words: ‘To me, painting is like a journey into an unknown world... in those far lands I meet strange people, creatures of the imagination. They are poets, fiddlers, sailors, tramps. Their heads are large and their bodies out of proportion... set them on canvas, where they can live again, smoking their pipes, talking and wondering at this new existence.’ Kuhn cited his other inspirations as the works of Klee, Chagall and Beardsley.