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Welcome to the
Irma René Koen website

Irma Kohn (Irma René Koen) in 1921, Chicago Daily News archive photograph, American Memory digital collection, Library of Congress, DN-0072902, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

Irma in the News

The painter Irma René Koen (neé Irma Julia Kohn) was born in Rock Island, Illinois (b. October 8, 1884-d. July 16, 1975). She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago with prominent landscape painter Charles Francis Browne (1859-1920) and with leading Danish-American portraitist John Christen Johansen (1876–1964).  Koen also spent summers painting in Massachusetts and Maine, most notably with the New Hope Circle Impressionists William Langson Lathrop (1859-1938) and the eminent teacher Henry Bayley Snell (1858-1943) at the Boothbay Harbor summer art colony and school in Maine. Koen painted here in Illinois, in California, along the East Coast, and in England (St. Ives, Cornwall, art colony) and Mexico. She exhibited her vivid oil paintings, watercolors, and plein-air gouache landscape scenes nationally and internationally at galleries and museums in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, and in Paris and Mexico. This website is devoted Koen’s life and art.

~ Cynthia Wiedemann Empen, PhD (Rock Island, IL)
Independent Art Historian (American art and 19th-century visual culture)

Irma René Koen exhibited and signed her paintings as “Irma Kohn” [prior to ca. 1926/27] and as “Irma Rene Koen” [after ca. 1926/27]. Her parents were Louis Kohn and Regina “Rena” Mosenfelder Kohn (Rock Island, IL). Irma died on July 16, 1975.

© Copyright Cynthia Wiedemann Empen, compiled research and essay/text content

Irma René Koen, untitled harbor scene, oil on canvas, approx. 30 x 30 in., Rock Island Public Library collection (IL)