The work of Kenneth Callahan explores the spirituality of humankind and the idea of the individual. His paintings synthesize organic form; humans and animals mesh with active, transforming landscapes. The visually poetic imagery he is known for incorporates ideas of enlightenment and the interconnection of humanity with nature. The effect is ethereal and transitory in color, shape and composition, creating subtle yet dramatic images. Associated with the artists of the Northwest School such as Guy Anderson, Morris Graves and Mark Tobey, Callahan's artistic legacy makes him a regional treasure.
Born in Spokane, WA, Kenneth Callahan studied art in London, Paris, and Florence, and was included in the first Whitney Biennial in New York in 1933. His early, romantic works were influenced by El Greco, the Mexican Muralists, Kandinsky, and William Blake. Callahan established his career in Seattle in the 1930s and was instrumental in founding the Seattle Art Museum, where he worked as a curator from 1933-1953. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum in New York; the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.; and the San Francisco, Portland and Seattle Museums of Art. Additionally, his commissions include a mural for the U.S. Marine Hospital in Seattle, Washington, several U.S. Post Offices in Washington and North Dakota, and the Civic Theatre and Center Playhouse in Seattle.