Misch Kohn was born in 1916 in Kokomo, Indiana to Russian emigrant parents. He studied printmaking with master printers Francis Chapin and Max Kahn at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis. Kohn’s earliest wood engravings and lithographs, created on the federal W.P.A. project, expressed his concerns with the social and political climate of the times. He was the first to take the more common book- size illustrations of wood engraving to a larger scale.
During the late 1950s, Kohn experimented with the technique of printing his etchings over collages of colored paper. His years of innovation allowed him the freedom to mix many media within a single composition. In a single print, Kohn might use etching, engraving, aquatint, woodcut and chine colle, creating something entirely new out of the interaction.
After spending a year in Mexico assisting muralist Jose Orozco, Kohn moved to Chicago in 1939, where, ten years later,he began a 22-year career teaching printmaking at the Institute of Design. He went to June Wayne’s Tamarind Lithographic Workshop in Los Angeles in 1961. Kohn became Professor of Art at California State University at Hayward during the 1970s.
In 1998, the first retrospective of Kohn's 60 years of printmaking opened at the Monterey Museum of Art in California and toured the country from there. Misch Kohn died in 2002.