HANS HOFMANN: THE ABSTRACT PAINTER OF VIVID EXPRESSIONISM
Blending Cubist structure with Fauvist color, Expressionist energy, and touches of Surrealism to evoke psychological and spatial relationship, the German-born American painter, Hans Hofmann is famous for his fusion style that paved the way for abstract expressionism.
Remembered as an influential 20th century art teacher, Hofmann was born on March 21, 1880, in Weißenburg, Bavaria, Germany. He spent his early years in Munich. After first focusing on math and science, Hofmann discovered a passion for art. In 1904, he moved to Paris and there he studied at the Académie da la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Colarossi.
In Paris, Hofmann met artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Georges Braque and befriended with Robert Delaunay. During this period, the work he created followed the leading avant-garde movement of the time- cubism.
Living back in Germany at the start of World War l, Hofmann opened an art school in Munich in 1915. In the summer of 1930, he was invited by a former student to teach in the United States and in 1932 he permanently settled in the United States.
Hofmann based himself in New York City, where he worked as an instructor at the Art Students League before establishing his own school in the city. In 1934, he began a summer program in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In addition to teaching, Hofmann also continued to make his own art, producing “Spring” (1940).
Hofmann's first solo exhibition in New York took place at Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery-museum Art of This century in 1944, and in the post World-War ll period, Hofmann was an important influence on younger artists experimenting with abstraction. In 1957, his work was the subject of a retrospective showing at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1958, Hofmann retired from teaching in order to focus on creating art.
Hofmann was selected to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1960. By then he was considered a leading abstract expressionist who created vivid and inventive paintings. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art mounted a major exhibition of his work. Hofmann died on February 17, 1966, in New York.