Guide to the Matt Kahn Papers SC1094

Daniel Hartwig/Jenny Johnson
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
January 2012
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064

Language of Material: Undetermined
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Matt Kahn papers
creator: Kahn, Matt
Identifier/Call Number: SC1094
Physical Description: 4.5 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): circa 1960s-1990s

Access to Collection

The materials are partially restricted. Student grade books (box 5) and student/faculty recommendations & endoresements (box 6) are restricted 75 years from date of creation. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

Publication Rights

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94304-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See:
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], Matt Kahn Papers (SC1094). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Biographical/Historical note

Matt Kahn was born on May 29, 1928, in New York City, the son of Jess and Julia Kahn. He studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where he met Lyda Weyl, his wife and partner in life and work
When he was 21, Kahn joined Stanford's Department of Art (now the Department of Art and Art History). That was in 1949, and over the following 60 years he created pioneering coursework in design and also taught painting, drawing, sculpture and color theory.
Kahn was appointed assistant professor in 1953 and professor in 1965. He was the director of the U.S. State Department Craft Development Program in Cambodia in 1957-58 and taught frequently at Stanford's overseas studies program in Florence, Italy. In 1993 he received the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching and was heralded for his "consistent vitality and enthusiasm" and for being "an opener of doors, a stimulus and guide to the realm of possibilities" who "creates a dazzling environment" for his students.
Kahn's teaching career has focused on design, where he was an active and influential mentor to generations of aspiring designers and talented students. While at Stanford, Professor Kahn also worked as an artistic consultant to Eichler Homes, the developer of modernist homes in California in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1957 and 1958, he served as Director of the U.S. State Department's Craft and Development Program in Cambodia. Professor Kahn has garnered national prominence for his exploration of multiple art forms, from painting to sculpture, textiles, metalwork, furniture design and interiors. Over the years, he has participated in multiple exhibitions at major institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Portland Art Museum in Oregon, and the Museum of Craft+Design in San Francisco.
Kahn retired from teaching in 2009 but continued to guest lecture for his colleagues until 2011.
He traveled extensively and was influenced by the richness he found in tribal cultures and art from around the world, much of which he collected and displayed in his iconic Eichler home on the Stanford campus. Matt and Lyda Kahn designed their home during the many years they collaborated with Joseph Eichler. It was featured in the New York Times Magazine in 2001.
Kahn's paintings, a blend of precise design, inventive form and a sharp sense of humor, were inspired by nature, humanity and the classical music he loved. His work is included in several art books and has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Italy and the United States, including shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the de Young Museum in San Francisco and several exhibitions at the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery commemorating milestones in his teaching career.
Kahn died June 24, 2013. He is survived by his son, Ira (AB Art '72), and daughter, Claire (AB Art '77).

Scope and Contents

Materials include professional files, teaching files (including videos of lectures), and photographs.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Art -- Study and teaching.
Universities and colleges -- Faculty.
Stanford University -- Faculty.
Kahn, Matt




Personal and Professional Files

box 1, folder 1

Letters from students and alumni

box 1, folder 2

Curriculum Vitae

box 1, folder 3


box 1, folder 4

Exhibit at Stanford 1970

box 1, folder 5


box 1, folder 6

Publicity-University of Wisconsin

box 1, folder 7


box 1, folder 8

Tapestry statement; Graphic paintings statement

Tapestry statement; Graphic paintings statement

box 1, folder 9

Vietnam moratorium

box 1, folder 10

Extra activities-personal (lectures, juries, etc.)

box 1, folder 11

Emanu-El exhibit

box 1, folder 12


box 1, folder 13


box 1, folder 14


box 1, folder 15

Correspondence-Jiri Bauer

box 1, folder 16


box 1, folder 17


box 1, folder 18

Stanford Personal and Sabbatical

box 1, folder 19


box 1, folder 20

President's Report (Faculty Annual Report)

box 1, folder 21

Design/Body & Soul

box 4

Fontana art contest circa 1962

Fontana art contest: circa 1962


Stanford Overseas

box 1, folder 22

Italy XIII

box 1, folder 23


box 1, folder 24

Florence Xmas Card

box 1, folder 25

Mademoiselle Bonney-Paris Trip

box 1, folder 26

Italy V

box 1, folder 27

Overseas campuses

box 1, folder 28

Artist in residence Summer Firenze 1966

box 1, folder 29

Italy Group XII

box 1, folder 30

Italy XII

box 1, folder 31

Dan Rosenfeld (Italy Project) 1973

box 1, folder 32

Italy Group XX

box 1, folder 33

Italy XX Spring 1970

box 1, folder 34

Italy Summer 1976

box 1, folder 35

Stanford in Italy 1976

box 1, folder 36

Italy-Autumn 1979





Access to Collection

Recommendations and Endorsements of students and fellow faculty members. Restricted 75 years from date of creation.
box 6, folder 1

Julia Rowe

box 6, folder 2

Corinne Okada

box 6, folder 3

James Garland

box 6, folder 4

Bo H. Strandgaard

box 6, folder 5

Michael Gaillard

box 6, folder 6

Casey Corum (IDM)

box 6, folder 7

Design Appointment

box 6, folder 8

Peter MacDonald

box 6, folder 9

Kelley Appointment

box 6, folder 10

Interdepartmental Majors Project

box 6, folder 11

Leslee M. Lewis - Aesthetics in Prod. Des. (Interdepartmental)

box 6, folder 12

David Hardesty

box 6, folder 13

Kevin Owens - Individually Designed Major

box 6, folder 14

Catherine Morris

box 6, folder 15

John Spears (Guggenheim)

box 6, folder 16

Suzanne Austin

box 6, folder 17

Peter Guckenheimer

box 6, folder 18

ART/CS Joint Appt.


Scholarship Committees and Other Reports

box 1, folder 37

Design at Nine Schools circa 1959

Design at Nine Schools: circa 1959

box 1, folder 38

Campus Environment Committee

box 1, folder 39

Faculty Sub-Committee on Overseas Campuses

box 1, folder 40

Humanities and Sciences Steering Committee

box 1, folder 41

Committee on Financial Awards (External) 1964 Oct 7

box 1, folder 42

Committee on Financial Awards (External) 1965 Mar 11

box 1, folder 43

Committee on Financial Awards (External) 1965 Oct 12

box 1, folder 44

Scholarship Committee 1965

box 1, folder 45

Urban Studies Committee

box 1, folder 46

Metropolitan Studies

box 1, folder 47

"Fellowships for Juniors" Project

box 1, folder 48

Freshman Drama

box 1, folder 49

Expo '67 1967

box 1, folder 50


box 1, folder 51

"Design in Nine Schools" circa 1959

box 1, folder 52



Matt Kahn: A Legacy of Excellence 2010-05-28

Matt Kahn: A Legacy of Excellence: 2010-05-28

Physical Description: 1 computer file(s) (mov)

Subject Files


Audiovisual material



box 5

Grade Books 1963-1988

Access to Collection

Restricted 75 years from date of creation.

Graduate Programs

box 2, folder 1

Design program propaganda/publicity

box 2, folder 2

Doria Fan


Course Material, Data, Photos, etc.

box 2, folder 3

Stanford Renaissance Symposium in Tuscany 1988

box 2, folder 4

Textile Printing and Weaving Data

box 2, folder 5

Mille Fiore Process

box 2, folder 6

Design Bibliography

box 2, folder 7

Jewelry - Technical Info

box 2, folder 8

KRON TV Carl Sonkin

box 2, folder 9

ASSU - Evaluations and Forms

box 2, folder 10


box 2, folder 11

Studio Upgrade

box 2, folder 12

Studio-Art Report

box 2, folder 13

LA Field Trip Spring 1991

box 2, folder 14

Project Guidelines 1993

box 2, folder 15

Calendar 1999

box 2, folder 16

Los Angeles trip 1999

box 2, folder 17

AUT 97-Mark Shieh 1997 Sep

box 2, folder 18

Sara Little (Turnbull)

box 2, folder 19

Centennial Campaign - Gold Leaf Mosaic Tile 1986-1987

box 2, folder 20

Sara Little (Turnbull)

box 2, folder 21

Meleanna Pricher

box 2, folder 22

Dean's Innovation Fund/Fine Metal Processes

box 2, folder 23

Renaissance Symposium in Tuscany 1989

box 2, folder 24

Clippings - Stanford in New York City


Department Affairs

box 2, folder 25


box 2, folder 26

Department Review 1986-1987

box 2, folder 27

Faculty Studio Planning

box 2, folder 28

Farmer Memorial Resolution

box 2, folder 29

Faulkner Memorial

box 2, folder 30

Daily "Design" article & Eitner correspondence

box 2, folder 31


box 2, folder 32

Master's Project Presentation announcement 1997



box 3

Art 60 Undated

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)
box 3

Art 60 Dec 3

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)
box 3

Art 160 1999 Jan 7

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)
box 3

Art 160 1999 Jan 14

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)
box 3

Art 160 1999 Jan 21

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)
box 3

Art 160 1999 Jan 28

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)
box 3

Art 160 1999 Feb 4

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)
box 3

Art 160 1999 Feb 11

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Design: Soul and Body 2005

Scope and Contents

Title: Design: Soul and Body Course Art 160—Design II: The Bridge Recorded: Winter 2005, Annenberg Auditorium, Stanford University
Order & Runtimes: 1 Context 1:24 2 Utility 1:45 3 Propaganda 1:37 4 Pleasure 1:35 5 Vanity 1:32 6 Ceremony 1:43