Naive Artist ~ Biography & Gallery (1860 - 1934)

Header Painting: Across the Strip, 1929 (Detail) by John Kane
© The Estate of John Kane

John Kane: Short Biography >> Trivia >> Gallery >> John Kane official prints are available at Allposters.com >> Advertise >> John Kane Books available @ amazon.com >> Search Site

John Kane ~ Biography

Known as: Known as: Folk and naïve (primitive) artist
Born: 1860, West Calder, Scotland
Died: 1934

The sad life of John Kane is a life I know too. Maybe not the intensity of his suffering but that abject poverty - well, there's nothing romantic about it. It's just hugely crap. The experience of it never leaves you. Where's the money coming from to pay the bills - will it ever come or is this it? Is this life? Your life?

In terms of suffering John Kane was a 100 floors above us in that tower of life.

He left Scotland with his family at the age of 19 and emigrated to Braddock, Pennsylvania, US. He had worked as a labourer in Scotland and continued this occupation in the US. He only started sketching at the age of 30 and when, in 1891, he lost a leg in a train accident and was forced to give up more strenuous work, he made a living through jobs like house painting and enlarging and coloring photographs.

He married Maggie Halloran in 1897, but when their infant son died in 1904 and he began to drink heavily, she left him. Time has no direction back so the moments of happiness with a wife and child he loved had only a 'present' in the permanence of memory.

He moved around to find work. Halfway homes, cold grey nights and the bitter winters of Pennsylvania with no money and prospects as bleak as the endless railways lines running through the PA countryside. To drink is to forget or maybe to reach, for a moment of two, the aforementioned 'permanence'.

He continued to paint though could never afford to go to art school. The lucky few who had money could paint their masterpieces with a warm heater - his immense body of work was produced in the bitter abyss of poverty.

He died at the age of 74. Oh what would you give to have seen Kane enjoy some reward for his work? Money is the currency we live with whether we like it or not and for once it would have been so wonderful if 'Life' had been wonderful and given this guy something, anything, for the beauty of his work. A life of suffering, a life of despair, an inexorable and miserable journey to the slums in Pittsburgh towards the end and then, finally, that hole in the ground... But he was beautiful despite it all. You only have to see his work to know that.

Out of blue comes green. But not in the life of John Kane.

John Kane ~ Trivia

In 1927, the Carnegie International exhibition accepted one of John Kane's paintings. It was his third attempt to have one accepted. Thereafter, he participated in ths prestigious annual event in each of the remaining seven years of his life

To earn a living, he had worked in coal mining, farming, carpentry and house painting

The first museum to acquire a John Kane painting was the Phillips Memorial Gallery

Towards the end of his life, he was forced to turn more and more to painting to earn money as old age and the Depression severly limited job opportunities for him

He achieved some sort of fame in his lifetime; fortune came too late to be of any use to him. He spent his final days in the slum conditions of Pittsburgh.

  • Top of page

    John Kane ~ Gallery

    john kane - junction hollow, 1932
    John Kane
    Junction Hollow, 1932
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    john kane - the monongahela river valley, 1931
    John Kane
    The Monongahela River Valley, 1931
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    john kane - across the strip, 1929
    John Kane
    Across the Strip, 1929
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    john kane - touching up (small version)
    John Kane
    Touching Up (small version)
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    john kane - self portrait
    John Kane
    Self Portrait
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    john kane - john kane, 1920
    John Kane
    John Kane, 1920
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    John Kane - John Kane and His Wife
    John Kane
    John Kane and His Wife
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    John Kane - Highland Hollow
    John Kane
    Highland Hollow
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    John Kane - Crossing the Junction
    John Kane
    Crossing the Junction
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    John Kane - Panther Hollow
    John Kane
    Panther Hollow
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    John Kane - Old Saint Patrick's
    John Kane
    Old Saint Patrick's
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    John Kane - Old Clinton Furnace
    John Kane
    Old Clinton Furnace
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    John Kane - Scotch Day at Kennywood
    John Kane
    Scotch Day at Kennywood
    John Kane Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
    © Estate of John Kane

    Links

    John Kane: Short Biography >> Trivia >> Gallery >> John Kane official prints are available at Allposters.com >> Advertise >> John Kane Books available @ amazon.com

    Top of Page >> Search Site

  • Releases & Links

    John Kane Gallery here.

    Buy John Kane Treasures


    John Kane, Painter [Book, 1971]

    Website design/enquiries: Lenin