Paul Cahan

Early Influences

Both of my parents, especially my father, were gifted in the arts. He was an inventor, physician, and an accomplished photographer. Included in this gallery, is a photograph of one of his medical device inventions, a resuscitation device he invented in 1943 while a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Medical Division. At home in the 1960’s, he set-up his own darkroom and taught me the photographic process. He introduced me to composition, and the use of contrast. His wide array of subject matter was inspiring. My father was multi-talented, creative, and possessed vast technical knowledge. He would even draw cartoons about the tragic-comic human condition while at the dinner table. A true Renaissance Man.

My mother majored in Fine Arts at Harvard College from 1940 -1944 and was a trained and working architect after college. When I was a youngster, in the late 1950’s through mid- 1960’s, she often took me to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where I was shown modern and contemporary work, and we attended many classical concerts.

While growing up, a neighbor of our’s, Lucille Huber, became a kind of grandmother to me. I spent a lot of time visiting her. She was a photographer also, and as my Dad, had a finely tuned sensitivity to seeing both the delicate, fine things in nature, and was a people person. She took pictures of her friends, strangers, workers throughout her life. Also like my Dad, she had a sense of humor that she often put into her art… there is a self-portrait here while she was getting a haircut! She encouraged my creative pursuits and helped me travel in Europe during the summer of 1971 when she gave me the freedom of a summer EuroRail Pass and a fine camera.

In the 1980’s I met Paul Marco while vacationing in Rangeley, Maine. He was an accomplished sculptor, lived in Maine during the summer and Florida in the winter. After surviving WWII in Europe, he came to New York and worked as a baritone at the Metropolitan Opera House. When he retired, he began sculpting semi-abstract figures from discarded farm implements in the peaceful region of northern Maine. A prolific artist, Paul Marco is well known only to friends and private buyers. When I met him, I immediately understood what inspired much of the subject matter of his art: his experience during WWII. In a moment of insight and clarity, when I walked around his sculpture garden for the first time, I had a deep feeling and asked him “Are you a holocaust survivor?” He responded: “How did you know?” I just said: “I feel it through your work, there is great suffering portrayed here in the faces and eyes of your figures”. His wife Eva, a survivor of a WWII concentration camp, was an accomplished painter. Her nature studies used different European silk patterns to represent a composition’s various subjects; her creativity and spirit have always been a source of great admiration from all who knew her. Mr. Marco was very happy when I began taking evening welding courses in New York. His encouragement meant a lot to me.

I had a very good welding teacher, Eliot Lable, at the Sculpture Center in New York. Eliot is an accomplished artist with a studio in Long Island City. While a weekend student, he taught me technique and theory, and encouraged me to pursue this medium. He often said “my creativity was great, I had a natural talent for sculpting and I was his only student who continued on with it.” I thank Eliot and my first sculpture teacher, Louis Trakkis at The New School, and many others who have encouraged me on my art/life journey.

Please click on images thumbnails for larger view:


Elephant Drawing
Horse Drawing
Lion Drawing
Snow Bank
4 fire tongs
Fire Tong prototype
Boston City Hall
Fire Tongs
Fire Tongs
Fire Tongs Ad
The Intruder
Old Country
Grass in Snow
Salute to nature
Boston Fire Escape
Colorado Rancher
parking Lot Attendant
Color Slide
Opera Singer
The Jury
Three Faces
After Raphael
Various Sculptures
Portrait in Maine



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