Max Kahn was born in Russia in 1904. He was brought to Peoria, Illinois, in 1907. He received a B.S. degree from Bradley College there. In Paris, in 1928-29, Kahn studied sculpture with Bourdelle and Despiau, and drawing with Othon Friesz. He studied lithography with Francis Chapin at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he himself was lithography instructor beginning in 1944.