Louis Kahan was born in Vienna and was drawn into the art world at a young age. He started by sketching his father’s clients-famous musicians and actors of that time. He started off his career as a tailor and designer. He designed costumes for Josephine Baker and Collette in her stage play La Vagabonde and for the Follies Berg√®res.
He began using drawing as his war effort drawing thousands of portraits of wounded allied soldiers, mostly Americans, signing them modestly “by a guy from Paris.” These drawings were sent back to loved ones and held in War Memorials.
1950’s Kahan settled in Melbourne to establish himself as a portrait artist which included a series on artists and other celebrated Australians for The Age newspaper, later published as Australian Artists and Uncommon Men.
As a painter, Kahan explored various interests in thematic series. Childhood games, and the nude were ongoing subjects. Symbolism rather than realism characterises this work and an autobiographical element is clear.