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Raw, poignant, and profoundly honest, David Kassan’s work aesthetically captures humanity in its true form. As an artist, Kassan acts as an empathetic intermediary between the subject he portrays and the viewer. More than simply replicating his subjects Kassan seeks to understand them. He seeks to capture the essence of those he paints, imbuing them with their own voice. They communicate with the viewer interpersonally and we see them through our own eyes. Our gaze transcends the picture plane and permeates deep into the subject’s psyche. We are moved by Kassan’s depictions, captivated by powerfully expressive hands, pensive faces, and flesh that appears warm to touch. Kassan’s portraits pulsate with the lives of his sitters — the weighty streams-of-consciousness of past experiences, feeling and introspection. This is what reality means to Kassan – preserving the realness of nuanced emotion and expression emanating from the people he paints ...

Portrait of Sam Goldofsky the EDUT project פרויקט עדות HD
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... Kassan’s technical mastery of oil paint, combined with adept draftsmanship, enables him to fluently represent what he sees. This is evident in the stunning flesh tones Kassan achieves. Transparent layers of oil paint are built up, forming an intricate lattice of veins, blood and skin. Through this light enters and is reflected back, infusing the subject with veridical luminosity. We can also sense movement and life beneath the undulating creases and folds of clothing. It is the artist’s intent to control the medium of oil paint so that it is not part of the viewer-to-subject equation. Kassan facilitates an interface between subject and viewer with which he is conscious not to interfere. The technical aspect of his work is thus a means to an end; an end rooted in the viewer’s experience. We find inherent contradictions in Kassan’s work as it oscillates between representation and transformation, and reality and abstraction.

David Kassan was born in Arkansas, and lives and works in New York and New Mexico.


Third Prize, BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
Chairman's Award, Salmagundi Club
Richard Pionk Memorial Award, Salmagundi Club
Purchase Prize, The Art Students League of New York Permanent Collection
Newington-Cropsey Travel Grant, The Newington-Cropsey Foundation
Junius Allen Memorial Award, Salmagundi Club
Arthur & Melville Phillips Award, The Nat. Academy of Design
Colonel Michael Jacobs Award, The Nat. Academy of Design


Alvaro Atencio, Caracas, Venezuela
Art Students League of New York, New York, NY
Carol Nelson Shepherd, Philadelphia, PA
Charles Block, Washington, DC
Christophe de Backer, Paris, France
David Kandall, Passaic, NJ
Francois de Roussy de Sales, Paris, France
Frederico Horta E Costa, Lisbon, Portugal
Gale & David Hoffman, Villanova, PA
Ivan Jecklin, Richmond, VA
Howard A. Tullman Collection, Chicago, IL
John Geheran, Southbury, CT
Kim & Jim Pallotta, Weston, MA, & New York, NY
MEAN – European Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona, Spain
Mel Friedman, New York, NY
Myra & Robert Page, Phoenix, AZ
Nan Laitman, New York, NY
Nancy Cohen, Baltimore, MD
Nick Millar, Grand Bahama
Paolo Lombardi, Pisa, Italy
Peter Pennoyer Architects, New York, NY
Richard McKenzie, Greenwich, CT
Richard Schwartz, New York, NY
Ron DeLucia, Ben Lomond, CA
Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland
Sandeep M. Bhammer, Mumbai, India
Sara Thoms, Rock Island, IL
Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, CT
TIsh & Phil Messinger, Palm Beach Gardens, FL


1999 BFA, Syracuse University College of VPA, Syracuse, NY
2001–2007 National Academy: School of Fine Art
2001–2007 Art Students League of New York
2003 British Institute of Florence

Coming soon

Available Work

oil on panel, 22 x 19 inquiry
oil on double oil primed linen panel, 18 x 14 inquiry