Marlboro College Remembers Wolf Kahn

Renowned painter and longtime trustee, friend, and supporter of Marlboro College Wolf Kahn died early in the morning of March 15, 2020, at the age of 92. The college expresses its heartfelt condolences to his family—so recently shaken in December by the death of Wolf’s beloved wife, Emily Mason—and its gratitude for both his and Emily’s decades of support.

“Along with Wolf’s herculean work ethic, painting every day until fairly recently, he possessed an insatiable curiosity about all things, an impish sense of humor and was a wonderful raconteur about a life truly well lived,” said Marlboro President Kevin Quigley. “Marlboro is lucky to have benefited from such a long and fruitful association with Wolf, who gave so generously of his vibrant talents.”

With more than half a century of rich and expressive work in his portfolio, Wolf inspired countless art-lovers across the country with his unique fusion of representation, color, and spontaneity. After emigrating from Germany to the United States in 1940, he graduated from New York City’s High School of Music and Art and served in the Navy during World War II. Then he began studying with renowned painter Hans Hofmann before completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Chicago.

Wolf traveled extensively, painting landscapes in Egypt, Greece, Hawaii, Italy, Kenya, Maine, Mexico, and New Mexico. Although he lived in New York he spent summers and autumns on a hillside farm near Marlboro on Stark Road, and it is his vibrant Vermont landscapes for which he is most known. Wolf’s paintings and pastels are found in the collections of the finest museums in the U.S, and he received a Fulbright Scholarship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Award in Art from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and U.S. State Department’s International Medal of Arts.

Over the many years of his association with Marlboro College, Wolf had many different roles, starting with participating on an academic advisory board during President Ragle’s tenure. “Our ostensible purpose was to find ways to keep the students from having uprisings, as they were doing everywhere else,” Wolf said. “But Marlboro students were either too busy or clever to have their own mini-uprisings.”

Wolf went on to serve as an outside examiner for art students completing their Plans of Concentration. In 1992 he endowed a scholarship at the college to be awarded annually to a student who demonstrates talent in the visual arts. In 2004 he generously provided funding to complete the welding shed and equip the sculpture studio, and he served as a trustee starting in 2006. At last year’s commencement, both Wolf and Emily received honorary degrees for their commitment to the ideals of Marlboro College.