Katharine Kuh

As a girl Kuh was ravaged by polio.

She persevered. She spent nearly a decade in heavy body casts and spent her time studying artistic prints and postcards with her father.

In 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression, she opened one of the first Avant-Garde art galleries in Chicago: The Katharine Kuh Gallery.

Music: ‘Mood Indigo’ by Duke Ellington

The Katharine Kuh Gallery

The Sanity in Art Movement was committed to kicking Avant-Garde art out of Chicago.

They started to harass The Kuh Gallery as soon as it opened.

In 1936 members of the Sanity in Art Movement hurled a brick through Kuh’s window.

Kuh in Bronzeville

At The Art Institute of Chicago, Kuh’s influence reached beyond the gallery.

As an art curator Kuh made many friendships with artists from all across the United States and Europe.

She even had ties to other prominent women in this exhibit, like Katherine Dunham and Gertrude Abercrombie.

Chicago Style and Homage to Léger

Kuh was the first in Chicago to feature photography and commercial art in her gallery.

She also valued the relationship between science and art, praising the French artist Fernand Léger as “a folk hero of our scientific and mechanistic age.”

Choose Another Artist

Katherine Dunham


Gertrude Abercrombie


Gwendolyn Brooks