Manfred H. Kuhnert, Visionary Laguna Beach Artist "en plein air"

The paintings of Manfred H. Kuhnert are the work of a visionary artist with feet firmly placed within two connected artistic traditions. Born into a creative and formally trained family during interwar Germany, Kuhnert's practice is anchored in a modern European aesthetic. With an impressionistic heart to his work, he paints with bold and generous strokes, both linear and painterly. That generosity appears in the artist's achievement as a master colorist. In Kuhnert's hands, a typically bright impressionist's 'en plein air' palette is a reliably vibrant and electric affair made all the more vivid working under the California sun. His work offers a bold and modern contribution to the state's distinctive offshoot of American Impressionism and is a leading exemplar of the Laguna Beach branch of California Impressionism.
What strikes us most about Kuhnert's approach to painting is his use of action and energy. His thick, textured brush strokes are balanced with a sense of quiet through the calm and confident use of white space. The thrilling kinetic presence of the Pacific Ocean, one of Kuhnert's favorite subjects, is rendered majestic in foaming waves rolling onto the beach. That action is often fast and furious yet deep and languorous as Kuhnert's gaze also takes in the deeper waters. The effect is a simultaneous desire by the artist to stir and soothe.
These dynamics come into play again and again, notably in the palpable sense of climate conveyed by Kuhnert. Luminous in tone, these subtleties work with a palette that reaches for opposing sensations. Deep, cool blues and sharp whites offer a refreshing sensation that would dominate many of the artist's canvases were it not for the carefully composed but radiant moments of warmth that equally define his work. The heat rendered in one of Kuhnert's incandescent sunsets is a perfect companion to his masterful embrace of an oceanic feeling.

Carey Hotchkis, Christie's Auction House Alumna