Kenneth Callahan was a noted 20th century Abstract Expressionism painter, art critic, curator, and a founder of the Northwest School.
Callahan grew up in Montana before attending high school in Seattle. He attended University of Washington but did not graduate. He cared for his younger brother during this time, worked as a longshoreman, and travelled extensively through Europe, Latin America, and the United States.
Largely self taught, Callahan founded the Northwest School, along with Guy Anderson (1906–1998), Morris Graves (1911–2001), and Mark Tobey (1890–1976).
Callahan was a curator of the Seattle Art Museum for twenty years from 1933 - 1953.