In the Hollow
casein on panel
20 x 24 inches
Born in Bavaria in 1880, Hans Hofmann has been called “the artist of the century.” In 1898, he began his studies at Moritz Heymann’s art school in Munich and relocated to Paris in 1904 where he would remain for the next ten years. While in Paris during one of the most revolutionary periods in the history of Western art Hofmann befriended the leaders of the Modernist movement, Matisse, Picasso and Bracques, among others. His closest and perhaps most influential friendship was with Robert Delaunay, who, together with his wife Sonia, launched a mini-movement known as Orphism, or Organic Cubism. The Delaunay’s approach, with its emphasis on color over form, made a strong impression on Hofmann.
By 1915 Hofmann had returned to Germany where he opened the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. The school gained recognition worldwide. In 1930, Hofmann was invited to teach at the University of California at Berkeley. In the spring of 1931, Hofmann had his first public exhibition in the United States at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. By 1932 hostility was mounting towards intellectuals in Germany and Hofmann decided to settle in New York City, where he taught at the Art Students League. In 1933 he opened the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in Manhattan.
At the age of 64, Hofmann’s first exhibition in New York was organized by Peggy Guggenheim and held at the Art of This Century Gallery. In 1955, Clement Greenberg organized a retrospective of Hofmann’s work at Bennington College, and in 1957 there was a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum. Though a generation older than Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorki, Clyfford Still and Willem de Kooning, Hofmann took his place as a major and influential member of this thoroughly American art movement of Abstract Expressionism. In 1960, Hofmann was one of four artists representing the United States at the Venice Biennale, and three years later a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art traveled throughout the United States and internationally.
On February 17, 1966 Hofmann died at the age of 86.
Former Hofmann students include : Glenn Wessels, Louise Nevelson, Carl Holty, Alfred Jensen, Worth Ryder, James Gahagan, Red Grooms, Lillian Orlowsky, Wolf Kahn, Paul Resika, Mercedes Matter, Irving Kershner, Roberd DeNiro Snr, Myrna Harrison and Frank Stella.
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