Portrait of Mary, 1949
b. 1891, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
d. 1971, Hyannis, Massachusetts
Karl Knaths was an American modernist painter who combined the Cubist aesthetic with a lyrical rendering of the representational. He was known for using Cubist forms and blocks of color to illustrate with varying degrees of abstraction and realism the local life around him, from lush flowers to the Cape Cod fishing life .Knaths studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and while employed as a guard at the Chicago Armory show in 1913 discovered modernism and Cézanne’s works in particular. In 1919, he moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts where he would remain for the remainder of his life in the house that he built there. Knaths showed his works in the 1921 Society of Independents Artists, and in 1926 Duncan Phillips of The Phillips Memorial Gallery (now The Phillips Collection) purchased the first Knaths painting in what was to become the largest collection of his works. In 1929, Knaths had in effect his first solo show by having a room at The Phillips Collection devoted to his works. In 1945, Paul Rosenberg & Co. became Knaths’s dealer, thus starting a relationship that would endure for the rest of his life. In addition to The Phillips Collection, Knaths’s works can be seen at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among many others.