Sam Kaner: Post-War Influencer

Sam Kaner: Post-War Influencer

10/04/2023     General, Modern & Contemporary Art

NEW YORK, NY -- The American Art Gallery, later known as the Court Gallery, was a fixture in a popular arts and shopping district in Copenhagen. Beginning in the 1950s, they staged countless exhibitions of modern artists hailing from Europe, the UK and the US. Owned and operated by Sam Kaner, the American Art Gallery provided an exhibition space for CoBrA artists such as Karel Appel and Anton Rooskens, as well as American Abstract Expressionist Paul Jenkins, the great English sculptor Lynn Chadwick, Hans Hofmann, Sam Francis and countless others.

A painter and printmaker from Brooklyn, Sam Kaner (1924-1990) studied at Stanley William Hayter’s fabled Atelier 17 in New York before moving to Paris. Kaner befriended Roger Lacourière, Picasso’s master printer, who would teach the young artist a new process of color printing. Moving on to London, Kaner quickly became quite successful, exhibiting globally, including an exhibition at the Venice Guggenheim. Returning to Copenhagen, Kaner established the American Art Gallery, and its forward-thinking program that showcased many of the most exciting young artists of the day. Maintaining relationships with several of the world’s most renowned galleries -- Jan Krugier in Geneva, Gimpel Fils in London, Martha Jackson in New York, as well as Peggy Guggenheim -- Kaner was able to curate a cutting-edge contemporary space with a global outlook on new art.

Having assisted David Margolis in building his landmark collection, Sam Kaner further collaborated with Mr. Margolis in a special exhibition in Boston. Margolis and Kaner later worked together in 1965 and 1966 to create a unique salon, International Art: 1965-1966, in the Margolis’ Boston home, a special public exhibition for which they produced editioned prints, as well as a full printed catalog. In these exhibitions, Kaner and Margolis showcased many of the key figures of Kaner’s gallery: Paul Jenkins, Lynn Chadwick, the CoBra artists Appel, Alechinsky and Jorn, as well as Jean Dubuffet, Paul Klee, Wifred Lam, Lucio Fontana and many others. Though it may not have been apparent at the time, Kaner and Margolis built a monumental exhibition that introduced Boston to the global contemporary art world.

Within the sprawling Margolis collection is a trove of rare paintings by Kaner. Combining the gesture and motion of Abstract Expressionism with the color and form of the CoBrA Group, Kaner created clever, bright abstract paintings that hold their own with many of his gallery’s roster.

Doyle is honored to showcase the work of Sam Kaner in select sales during the 2023/2024 auction season, beginning with two lots in 20th Century Abstraction on October 11.

20th Century Abstraction

Auction Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 11am
Exhibition October 7 – 9

View Lots & Place Bids

Angelo Madrigale

Angelo Madrigale

SVP / Director of Paintings / Director of Contemporary Art