Kenneth Callahan

Kenneth Callahan

"For me there are two sources of art: nature and the art of the past. The past is all-inclusive, from cave painting to the thing produced yesterday by the artist around the corner. Nature is the most important.... It is nature, with its unlimited varied form, structure and color that constitutes the vital living source from which art must basically stem." --Kenneth Callahan

Kenneth Callahan’s paintings are imbued with expressive energy. With vigorous, broad brushwork and clever manipulation of an object’s scale and exaggerated perspective, he shows us scenes in the Cascade Mountains that capture the sheer power of the landscape. In his earlier paintings, Callahan recorded the scenes he knew best: of loggers and laborers and the Northwest landscape in a rough-hewn figurative style. His later works became more abstract and metaphysical in nature, designed to inspire contemplation in the viewer.

"Kenneth Callahan was before all else a painter of nature. Nature for him as his words above reveal, was more than "men, mountain streams, animals and alpine meadows." It was the life force that breathed spirit into each insect and each mountain peak. It was "the interrelationship of man, rock, and elements; the creating and disintegration, repeated over and over: man into rock, rock into man, both controlled by sun and elements."

It was an ineffable power, a seeming state of perpetual motion that created and consumed that swirled and cycled and finally transcended the physical world. Callahan's was, in essence, a romantic vision of creation and creating."

--excerpt from "Kenneth Callahan" by Patricia G. Watkinson

Kenneth Callahan served as a catalyst for Seattle artists in the mid-20th century through his own painting, his work as assistant director of the Seattle Art Museum, and his writings about contemporary art. Born in Spokane and largely self-taught as an artist, Callahan was committed to an art that went beyond the merely illustrative. He enrolled at the University of Washington in 1924 but did not complete a degree. After leaving the university he traveled widely, absorbing influences from the different countries and cultures he experienced. His talent was recognized early; his work was included in the first Whitney Biennial exhibition in 1933 and he went on to a distinguished painting career. Callahan is identified as one of the Northwest Mystics- along with Guy Anderson (196-1998), Morris Graves (1910-2001), and Mark Tobey (1890-1976)- who shared a muted palette and strong interest in Asian aesthetics.

Strength in Numbers | 41" x 50" | oil on canvas | c. 1970

Cascade Mountain Landscape | 30" x 36" | sumi on paper

Horse and Dog | 22" x 30" | tempera & sumi on paper

In the Rock | 38" x 31.25" | oil on board | 1951

Reclining Figures | 34.75" x 44" | acrylic on board

Silver Forest | 28" x 40.25" | oil on board | 1932

Longshoreman | 33.5" x 25.75" | oil on paper | 1929

Vortex | 29.75" x 35" | oil and tempera on board | c.1958

Mountain Landscape | 28" x 33.5" | sumi on paper | 1960

Mother and Child | 11" x 16" | etched slate panel | 1960

Gathering | 21" x 28" | mixed media on paper | 1956

Landscape with Figures | 38.5" x 46.75" | acrylic on board | c.1970

Figures Earth (Group) | 13" x 19" | tempera & oil on board | c.1970

Horse and Figure | 13.5" x 10" | tempera on paper on board | c. 1965

Cove | 25" x 31" | tempera on paper on board

Horse and Riders | 27.5" x 35" | mixed media on board

Praying Figures | 26.5"x 30.5" | oil on wood panel | 1950

Rock Fragments | 53" x 45" | oil on canvas | c. 1950

Forms in Transition | 38.5" x 46.75" | acrylic on board

Dancing Figures | 38.5" x 46.75" | acrylic on board

Night Currents | 38.5" x 46.75" | acrylic on board

Joyous Currents | 60" x 40" | tempera on board

Playing Horses | 24.25"x 29.75" | tempera & ink on paper

Transition | 27.5" x 33.75" | oil & tempera on board

Frieze | 23" x 49" | oil on board | 1963

Celestial Movement | 43" x 35" | oil and tempera on board

Allegro | 42" x 39" | oil on canvas

On the Shore | 40" x 48" | mixed media on paper over canvas

Quartet | 37" x 45" | tempera on paper on board | c. 1975

Village | 28" x 45" | oil on canvas | 1979

Summer Sea | 36" x 53" | oil on canvas | 1977

Counterpoint | 38" x 46" | mixed media

Summer Day | 40" x 44" | oil on canvas | 1976

Floating World | 28" x 47" | oil and tempera on canvas over board | 1973

Trio | 36" x 47" | tempera on paper on board | c. 1975

The Gathering | 14" x 22" | tempera on board | c.1950

Voyage on Blue Sea | 29" x 27" | oil on canvas | 1954

Figures In A Fractured Landscape | 46" x 26" | oil on board

Solstice II | 33" x 25" | tempera on paper | c. 1965

Aurora | 31" x 37" | tempera on board | 1966

The Valley | 30" x 36" | tempera on paper board | 1961

Black Wave | 32" x 38" | mixed media on board

Contemplation, (Universal Voyage) | 31" x 38" | tempera & oil on board | c. 1960's

Swamp | 15" x 24" | tempera on board | 1972

Cougar | 25" x 29" | sumi ink on paper | 1967

Horse in Field | 23" x 28" | sumi ink on paper | 1970

Horse and Riders | 25" x 30" | oil on paper | c.1960

On the Rock (Universal Voyage Series) | 37" x 31" | oil & tempera on board | 1973

Estuary | 25" x 37" | oil on board | c. 1960

Into the Source | 29" x 36" | tempera on paper | 1965

Cloud Burst | 28" x 36" | tempera on paper | 1965

Connection | 38" x 46" | acrylic on board | c. 1970's

Rising Sphere | 31" x 37" | tempera on paper | c. 1960

Crowd II | 22" x 33.5" | mixed media on board | c. 1960

Stellar Journey | 18" x 38" | oil on paper | c. 1960

Wave Form | 38" x 46" | acrylic on board | 1970's

Summer Storm III | 38" x 46" | acrylic on board | c. 1970's

Figures on Beach II | 37.75" x 46" | acrylic on board | 1976

Summer Storm II | 35.5" x 46" | acrylic on board | 1970

Tidal Shift | 39" x 47" | Tempera on Board | c. 1970

Universal Voyage | 38" x 72" | Tempera on Board | 1965

Gathering on the Rock | 36" x 27" | Tempera on Paper

The Descent | 18.5" x 18.5 | Waxed Gouache | 1939