Matt Kahn

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Matt Kahn

Matt Kahn - educator, painter, designer and collector - died at home on June 24th, 2013.


Kahn was born on May 29th, 1928 in New York City, the son of Jess and Julia Kahn. He studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he met Lyda Weyl, who would become his wife and partner in life and work.


Kahn came to Stanford University in 1949 to teach in the Department of Art and Architecture. Over the following sixty years he created pioneering coursework in design, inspiring his students to pursue lives driven by heart and beauty. His relentlessly high standards and passion for excellence were legendary, creating an extraordinary level of achievement on the part of his students and a lasting bond between them and their beloved professor.


Kahn traveled extensively and was influenced by the richness he found in tribal cultures and art from around the world, much of which he collected and displayed in his iconic Eichler home on the Stanford campus. Matt and Lyda Kahn designed their home during the many years they collaborated with Joe Eichler.


Kahn's paintings, a blend of precise design, inventive form, and a sharp sense of humor were inspired by nature, humanity and the classical music he loved. His work is included in several art books and has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Italy and the United States.


Kahn is survived by his son, Ira, and daughter, Claire. The family requests that memorial donations be made to Americans for the Arts (americansforthearts.org). An event to celebrate Matt's life and memory will be announced in the coming months.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 14, 2013
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