Among Louis I. Kahn’s finest, most original pictorial works, these pastels offer insight into his creative thought as an architect and showcase Kahn’s interest in light as he captures the changing shadows and silhouettes across the Temple of Apollo in Corinth at different times of day. Part of a small, remarkable group that he created while traveling in Italy, Egypt, and Greece during his three-month tenure as Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome (1950–51), the pastels embody Kahn’s quest to capture the essence of antiquity. Featuring confident strokes and bold color, they reflect the artist’s deep interest in the color of daylight and its complementary hues. These poetic meditations on ancient Greek architecture precipitated a breakthrough that allowed Kahn to escape the restrictions of the aloof international style and infuse the gravitas of antiquity into his architecture. The pastels especially resonate with Kahn’s crowning achievement in his design for the Kimbell Art Museum.
Esther Kahn, Philadelphia;
Sue Ann Kahn, Philadelphia;
purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, 2021