Kuh, Katharine

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1904-07-15
Death 1994-01-10
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Katharine Kuh, art historian, art curator, and author.

From the description of Katharine Kuh papers, 1937-1964 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702131643

b. 1904; d. 1994.

From the description of Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81397405

Art consultant, curator, and critic; Chicago and New York City; b. 1904; d. 1994.

From the description of Katharine Kuh interviews, 1982 Mar. 18 - 1983 Mar. 24. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220208872

Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) was an art consultant, curator, and critic working in Chicago and New York City.

From the description of Katharine Kuh papers, 1875-1994, bulk, 1930-1994. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 744428318

Katharine Kuh, b. 1904; d. 1994, Art consultant, curator, and critic of Chicago and New York City.

From the description of Oral history interview with Katharine Kuh, 1982 Mar. 18-1983 Mar. 24. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 646400503

Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) was a curator with the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.

From the description of Oral history interview with Katharine Kuh, 1993 Jan. 26-27. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 422877171

Art consultant, curator, and critic; Chicago and New York City. Born 1904. Died 1994.

From the description of Katharine Kuh papers, 1908-1994. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 245521099

Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) worked primarily in the Chicago area as an modern art historian, dealer, critic, curator, writer, and consultant. She operated the Katharine Kuh Gallery from 1935-1943 and was the first woman curator of European and Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Katharine Kuh (née Woolf) was born on July 15, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of the three daughters of Olga Weiner and Morris Woolf, a silk importer. In 1909, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois. While traveling with her family in Europe in 1914, Katharine contracted polio, causing her to spend the next decade in a body brace. During this time of restricted movement, she developed an interest in art history through the collecting of old master prints.

After her recovery, Katharine Woolf attended Vassar College where one of her professors, Alfred Barr, encouraged her to study modern art. She graduated from Vassar in 1925 and received a master's degree in art history from the University of Chicago in 1929. Later that year, she moved to New York to pursue a Ph.D. in Renaissance and medieval art at New York University.

In 1930, Katharine Woolf returned to Chicago and married businessman George Kuh and began to teach art history courses in the suburbs of Chicago. After divorcing George Kuh in 1935, she opened the Katharine Kuh Gallery, the first gallery devoted to avant-garde art in Chicago. It was also the first gallery to exhibit photography and typographical design as art forms, and featured the work of Ansel Adams, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, and Man Ray, among others. From 1938 to1940, Kuh was the Visiting Professor of Art at the University School of Fine Arts, San Miguel, Mexico.

After the Katharine Kuh Gallery closed in 1943, Kuh was hired by museum director Daniel Catton Rich to fill a position in public relations at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the following years, Kuh edited the museum's Quarterly publication, took charge of the museum's Gallery of Interpretive Art, and began a long term relationship with Rich. In 1946, Kuh was sent on a special mission for the U. S. Office of Indian Affairs to make a detailed study of Native American totemic carvings in Alaska.

In 1949, Kuh persuaded Mr. and Mrs. Walter Arensberg of Los Angeles to exhibit their collection of modern art, creating the first post-war exhibition of modern art in Chicago. She published her first book Art Has Many Faces in 1951, and in the following year, she began writing art criticism for The Saturday Review . In 1954, Kuh was appointed the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute. She assembled the American contribution for the Venice Biennale in 1956 and during these years, Kuh helped acquire many of the works of modern art currently in the museum's collection.

A year following Daniel Catton Rich's 1958 resignation from the Art Institute of Chicago, Kuh also resigned and pursued a career in New York as an art collection advisor, most notably for the First National Bank of Chicago. In 1959, Kuh was made art critic for The Saturday Review, and she continued to publish books, including The Artist's Voice in 1962, Break-Up: The Core of Modern Art in 1965, and The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art in 1971.

Katharine Kuh died on January 10, 1994 in New York City.

From the guide to the Katharine Kuh papers, 1875-1994, bulk 1930-1994, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Katharine Kuh, art historian, curator, author, and critic of twentieth- century art, was born in St. Louis on July 15, 1904. She was educated at Vassar College (A.B. 1925) and the University of Chicago (A.M. 1928).

From 1935 until 1942 she owned and directed The Katharine Kuh Gallery in Chicago and also served as visiting professor of art at the University School of Fine Arts in San Miguel, Guanajuato, Mexico. In 1943 Katharine went to the Art Institute of Chicago as curator, Gallery of Art Interpretation. Until 1959 she was also curator of modern painting and sculpture and edited the Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1943 to 1953. Following her departure from the Institute, she became art editor for Saturday Review (1959-72), World Magazine (1972-73), and Saturday Review Magazine (1973-77).

During her career, Katharine Kuh wrote many books. They include Art Has Many Faces (1951), which was inspired partly by her experience in preparing an advisory report on the fate of Alaskan totem poles for the Office of Indian Affairs in 1946, The Artist's Voice (1962), and Break Up: The Core of Modern Art (1965). She also wrote a catalog of Fernand Léger's work, Léger (1953), and the catalog for a retrospective exhibition, 100 Artists, 100 Years: Alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1979).

Katharine Kuh married George E. Kuh in 1930 and was divorced in 1936. See also: Who's Who of American Women, Vol. I, p. 722.

From the guide to the Katharine Kuh papers, 1937-1964 (inclusive), (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

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Subjects:

  • Art criticism
  • Museum curators
  • Art, American
  • Abstract Expressionism
  • Art critics
  • Artists
  • Art, Abstract--United States
  • Expatriate artists
  • Art literature
  • Women museum curators
  • Art, American--20th century
  • Curator--Interviews
  • Art, Modern--20th century
  • Women art historians
  • Art museum curators--Interviews
  • Art festivals
  • Art, Abstract
  • Curators
  • Authors--Illinois--Chicago
  • Women art historians--Illinois--Chicago
  • Art galleries, Commercial
  • Art critics--Interviews
  • Women art dealers
  • Women art critics--Illinois--Chicago
  • Women art critics
  • Art, Modern--20th century--United States
  • Women art critics--New York (State)--New York
  • Women museum curators--Illinois--Chicago
  • Art galleries, Commercial--Illinois--Chicago
  • Authors
  • Women art dealers--New York (State)--New York
  • Women art dealers--Illinois--Chicago

Occupations:

  • Artists--United States
  • Authors
  • Art critics--United States

Places:

  • Illinois--Chicago (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • Illinois--Chicago (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Illinois--Chicago (as recorded)
  • Illinois--Chicago (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Illinois--Chicago (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)