Pictorial> An Architect Paints a Softer Skyline

International
Friday, December 30, 2011
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A watercolor by Gene Kohn included in a Hong Kong exhibition.

A watercolor by Gene Kohn included in a Hong Kong exhibition.

Are you on KPF’s holiday mailing list? If so, think twice before you toss their annual card into the recycling bin. You’re now the owner of a limited edition print by an artist who is represented by one of London’s poshest galleries, the Belgravia, and whose work was featured this fall in a one-man show in Hong Kong. The signature is in the bottom right corner: Kohn ’11.

Gene Kohn, the chairman—and K—of KPF, is better known for leading the charge on super-tall glass and steel skyscrapers like the International Commerce Center in Hong Kong, now that city’s tallest building. But in his spare time, the architect turns to more solitary pursuits: his easel and palette of watercolors. “When I’m painting, I don’t have a client I’m trying to please, no schedule or budget. I do it for myself,” said Kohn, noting he enjoyed the speed at which he could finish a watercolor—instant gratification when compared to his firm’s complex multi-year projects.

Kohn spends time painting a couple of days a week, an avocation he picked up from his mother, who was an artist, and one he is passing along to his young grandchildren, who now paint with him on family vacations.

In October selections from Kohn’s body of work traveled from west to east to be exhibited and auctioned off in Hong Kong, where KPF has an office and a formidable roster of completed projects. Kohn’s proceeds from the auction were given to Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center and Cancer Research at the University of Michigan, of which Kohn is a longtime supporter, and to the Hong Kong Cancer Fund. The donation held particular significance this year—at the time the exhibition was mounted, two KPF staffers, one in the New York office and one in the London office, were suffering from cancer.”We wanted to do this art show in their honor,” said Kohn. Sadly, the event also became a memorial when one of the employees succumbed the disease in early October.

For a catalogue of the exhibition, contact the Belgravia Gallery, or have a look at our slide show of the skylines and cityscapes featured in Kohn’s art show in support of cancer research.

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