Kahn, Otto

Kahn, Otto (Herman)

(1867–1934) financier, art patron; born in Mannheim, Germany. He trained as a banker and worked in the London branch of the Deutsche Bank before emigrating to New York City (1893); there he formed Kuhn, Loeb & Company in 1897, an investment banking firm. He owed much of his wealth to financing railroads, in particular from helping Edward H. Harriman in his operations. A generous supporter of the arts, Kahn was a major supporter of the Metropolitan Opera Company, serving as its chairman (1911–31) and president (1918–34). He lived luxuriously in New York City and at Cold Springs Harbor, Long Island, and collected valuable works of art, concentrating on Byzantine gold enamels and Italian Renaissance art. He suffered huge financial losses in the depression that began in his final years and his major art works were sold off to private collectors.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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