ICB's Artist-in-Residence Program
Starting in 2002, the ICB Building's owners and management decided to honor one of the fine artists or craftspeople who work in our building for their accomplishments. The specifics of this award are still being defined and will include increased visibility and financial support.

2002 - 2006
Walter Kuhlman

While Walter Kuhlman's work has evolved from the dynamic, purely abstract canvases of the the 40's and 50's to the more atmospheric work which has engaged him since then, a similar balance of color, space and emotion remains. However, unlike any other Bay Area figurative painters who emerged in the 50's and began to depict the human figure in an abstract expressionist context, Kuhlman not only continued to use paint and color expressively, he also included a psychological aspect.

Primarily a painter, Kuhlman has devoted much of the last fifteen years to his work with monotypes. Integrating the abstract expressionist vocabulary with his own European heritage and upbringing, mythological, literary and psychological themes suggest themselves. Kuhlman's images seem to spontaneously emerge from fields of color. The end result is often dramatic, magical and sometimes surreal an effect which Alexander Fried, a former San Francisco Examiner art critic, labeled as early as 1964 "semi-abstract mysticism." Perhaps, the strongest quality of Kuhlman's work is his ability to project the feeling of a particular space or time.

Born in 1918 to Danish immigrants in St. Paul, Minnesota, Walter Kuhlman graduated from the University of Minnesota and studied with Cameron Booth at the St. Paul School of Art. After serving with the Navy during the Second World War, Kuhlman came to settle in the Bay Area. Attending the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) on the G.I. Bill with such artists and teachers as Clyford Still, Frank Lobdell, Richard Diebenkorn and Budd Dixon, Kuhlman was part of a period of San Francisco art history that, together with the work of artists in New York, thrust the United States into a prominent and vital position in the art world.

Walter Kuhlman has taught on the faculties of the California School of Fine Arts, Stanford University, Santa Clara University, the University of New Mexico, as well as the Sonoma State University from 1969 until his retirement in 1988. Kuhlman was the recipient of the prestigious Graham Foundation Fellowship in 1957. In 1982 he was designated Maestro by the California Arts Council and awarded a grant as "a leading California working artist and teacher." He was elected to membership of the National Academy of Design in New York in 1995. His work can be found in a number of national and intetrnational collections, and his papers are in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.

The above information was excerpted from a description that was part of a show of Walter Kuhlman's monotypes at the George Krevsky Fine Art Gallery in San Francisco.

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