While the White Mountains have always been associated with outdoorsy activities, for much of the 19th century, they played a particularly important role in the arts. The new country was looking for an artistic identity that was distinctly "American," and the untamed wilderness of northern New Hampshire inspired scores of painters.
Wolf Kahn was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1927 and came to the United States when he was 12-years-old. He later served in the Navy during WWII, and in 1946, under the GI Bill, Kahn attended the Hans Hofmann School, studying under and becoming a studio assistant for Hans Hofmann. Later, Kahn graduated from the University of Chicago. His work in oil paint and pastel mediums share his signature vibrant style. He spends his time in both New York City and West Brattleboro, Vermont. Kahn's wife Emily Mason is also an artist.
Credit The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn / Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art
Richard Diebenkorn's 1975 work Ocean Park #79, features pastel blues, lavenders and aquas — and thin strips of deep red and green at the top to draw the viewer's gaze upward.
Credit Colin C. McRae /
Over the course of more than 20 years, Richard Diebenkorn created 145 paintings for his Ocean Park series. Nearly 80 of those works created between 1967 and 1988 are on display at the Orange County Museum of Art in Southern California. Diebenkorn, pictured above in 1982, died in 1993.
Credit The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn / Courtesy Yale University Art Gallery
Diebenkorn's studio sat on a hillside; he looked out and up at the geometry of the hill, and how the streets crossed one another. Above, his 1969 oil painting Ocean Park #24.
Credit Leo Holub /
Diebenkorn and many other artists flocked to Ocean Park in the late 1960s — rent in the then-derelict area was cheap. He's pictured above in his Ocean Park studio in Santa Monica in 1984.
Credit The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn
Diebenkorn played music in his studio while he painted — he loved Bach and Mozart — and it's reflected in his composition of colors. "I really do see them as kind of music," says curator Sarah Bancroft. Above, Diebenkorn's 1984 work, Untitled #26 — gouache, acrylic and crayon on joined paper.
In the late 1960s, while America was in turmoil over the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, a painter in Santa Monica, Calif., was creating a series of tranquil, glowing canvases that made his reputation and transfixed art lovers. Those works — the Ocean Park series — are now on view at the Orange County Museum of Art, about an hour's drive from the place where they were painted.