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Otto Karl Knaths

Otto Karl Knaths: Clam Flats Fantasia<br>Sold at Eldred's in 2012 for $12,650

Clam Flats Fantasia
Sold at Eldred's in 2012 for $12,650


1891 - 1971

Karl Knaths (1891-1971), longtime member and teacher at the Provincetown Art Association, found his own approach to modernism through his view of the relationship between musical notes and color. This led to his practice of preselecting colors for his palette before he painted, never duplicating his color choices.

Born in Wisconsin and raised in the Midwest, Knaths studied for four years at the School of the Art Institute and while there, was influenced by modernist work from Paris, particularly by the art of impressionist Paul Cezanne. By 1919, Knaths had settled in Provincetown, MA and was creating work influenced by Cubism. His personal studies led to an interest in music and a unique personal application of the ideas of Cubist painters like Mondrian and Kandinsky.

In Provincetown, Knaths was active with the Provincetown Art Association and taught and lectured up and down the East Coast including at the Phillips Collection Art School in Washington, D. C. In fact, his patron, Duncan Phillips, helped to establish his reputation. In 1934-35, he painted murals for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Mostly, however, Knaths preferred to work in relative isolation in Provincetown where he drew inspiration from the landscape and the local color.

His work is in the Metropolitan Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and others, in addition to private collections.

Last updated: April 25, 2012

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