Fritz Kahn

Illustrations of Fritz Kahn

Fritz Kahn was a German physician who published popular science books and is known for his illustrations, which pioneered the art of infographics. Through the use of often startling metaphors, both verbal and visual, Kahn succeeded in making complex principles of nature and technology comprehensible to a person of average education.

Kahn described the human body as the most competent machine in the world; and his work reflects the technical and cultural state of development of Germany during the Wiemer Republic. He himself did not draw well; the illustrations were made by others on his instructions. Kahn established studios for this purpose in Berlin, New York and Copenhagen.

In late 1938, shortly after the Kristallnacht in Germany, Kahn’s books were placed on the list of “damaging and undesirable writing” and in addition his book on sexuality, “Unser Geschlechtsleben”, was banned by the police and all available copies destroyed. Fritz Kahn’s illustrations were returned to public attention in 2009 with the release of Uta and Thilo von Debschitz’s monograph “Fritz Kahn- Man Machine”. The first exhibition of his work was held in 2010 at the Berlin Museum of the Histoy of Medicine.

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