Emily Mason (b.1932)

Emily Mason (b.1932). Monadnock, 1985. Oil on linen canvas measures 42 x 50 inches. Wood strip frame. Excellent condition. Signed and dater lower right. Provenance: Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation, Cleveland, OH



Emily Mason (born January 12, 1932) is an American abstract painter.

Mason is known for her work in Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction. She was born and raised in New York City, where she continues to reside.

Emily Mason was born in Greenwich Village New York City in 1932 to Alice Trumbull Mason and Warwood Edwin Mason. Her mother was a founder of the American Abstract Artists. Her father was sea captain for American Export Lines. She attended the High School of Music and Art in 1946 -1950.

She attended Bennington College 1950-1952. In 1952, Emily transferred from Bennington College to the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, She was graduated in 1955.

In 1956, Emily was awarded a Fulbright grant to study in Italy. Before moving there, she met fellow painter Wolf Kahn, who later joined her in Venice. They were married there in March 1957. Her work earned her a second year of the Fulbright grant. In late 1958 the couple returned to New York. Emily gave birth to their first daughter Cecily in 1959. In 1963 the family returned to Italy. Their daughter Melany was born in Rome in 1964.

Emily’s career began to flourish in the 1960s. She was awarded her first solo exhibition in 1960 at the Area Gallery in New York City. In the intervening years, she has had many solo exhibitions. Mason continues to exhibit her paintings in New York at the David Findlay Jr. Fine Arts and LewAllen Gallery in Santa Fe. There is a book on her, Emily Mason: The Fifth Element written by David Ebony.

In 1979 she began teaching at Hunter College. In 1968 the couple bought a farm in Brattleboro Vermont where they continue to summer.

In The Brooklyn Rail, publisher Phong Bui describes Mason’s position between Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting, noting: “She was interested in neither the former’s existential angst nor the latter’s use of absorbed color pigments on raw canvas (she paints on primed canvases). By allowing painterly gestures to coexist with thin, poured layers in a wide range of colors in all manner of hues and saturations, Mason is able to amplify her colors—which are infused with forms that derive from both memory and free association with concrete surroundings in nature—while embracing their complex tonalities.


  • Alexander Foundation, New York, NY
  • Brookhaven Laboratory, Brookhaven, NY
  • Boston Mutual Life, Canton, Ma
  • Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation, Cleveland, OH
  • Convexity Capital, Boston, MA
  • Felton International, New York, NY
  • Lehman Brothers, Kuhn and Loeb, New York, NY
  • Morgan Stanley Group, New York, NY
  • Morgan Stanley Company, Tokyo, Japan
  • National Academy Museum, New York, NY
  • New Britain Museum, New Britain, CT
  • Rockefeller Group, New York, NY
  • Rutgers Archive, Rutgers, NJ
  • Springfield Museum, Springfield, MA
  • Watkins Corporation, London, United Kingdom
  • Wheaton College, Norton, MA