JACOB KAINEN (b. 1909, Waterbury, CT; d. 2001, Catonsville, MD) grew up in a home that supported creativity and the arts. When the family moved to New York in 1918, Kainen frequented the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to feed his interests. After graduating high school at 16, he entered classes at the Art Students League, where he gained his first interest in printmaking. He was accepted to Pratt, and due to his less commercial and more progressive style, he was expelled from institute three weeks before his graduation.

In the 1930s he participated in the Works Progress Administration’s graphic arts program, and also befriend Arshile Gorky: a friendship that greatly influenced his work. In 1942, Kainen moved to Washington, DC to become the curator of the Division of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian’s U. S. National Museum (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum), a position he held until 1970, when he retired to paint full time.

Kainen was an influential teacher in DC, teaching at the Washington Workshop Center—where he introduced Ken Noland to Morris Louis—and American University.

Solo Exhibitions
1961—Nov. 7—25

Group Exhibitions
1961—Review and Preview, May 22—June 4
1961—The Year Ahead, Oct. 3—Nov. 4
1961—Paper Show, Dec. 5—Jan. 5, 1962
1962—Small Paintings and Sculpture, Jan. 7–27
1968—Jefferson Place Ten Years, July 16–Aug. 7

http://www.jacobkainen.com/

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Photograph of artist Jacob Kainen by Paul Feinberg, 1979
Courtesy Hemphill Gallery [ #151 ]

connected archival press clips

Jefferson Place
Jefferson Place
February 26, 1958
Washington Star
The blues themselves, which are the strongest memory the show leaves, are perfectly balanced between light and dark to model a figure or express a mood… A “Portrait of Gene Davis” makes better use of that painter’s stripes than he does himself.
Jefferson Place
Jefferson Place
February 26, 1958
Washington Star
The sense of place is gone completely. He creates monumental single figures, for the most part, usually with one dominant color, often blue. These people exist in themselves; sometimes there is a chair, a sofa, a bit of cloth… Great simplified, the coloring is nevertheless extraordinary.
Jefferson Place
Jefferson Place
February 26, 1958
Washington Star
Throughout the show there is the mark of authority, the seriousness and assurance of a mature artist engrossed in his work, indifferent to evangelism in art.