Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)

Hans Hofmann is one of the most important figures of postwar American art. Celebrated for his exuberant, color-filled canvases, and renowned as an influential teacher for generations of artists—first in his native Germany, then in New York and Provincetown—Hofmann played a pivotal role in the development of Abstract Expressionism. Between 1900 and 1930, Hofmann’s early studies, decades of painting, and schools of art took him to Munich, to Paris, then back to Munich. By 1933, and for the next four decades, he lived in New York and in Provincetown. Hofmann’s evolution from modern art teacher to pivotal modern artist brought him into contact with many of the foremost artists, critics, and dealers of the twentieth century: Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Wassily Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delauney, Betty Parsons, Peggy Guggenheim, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, and many others. His successful career was shepherded by the postwar modern art dealer Sam Kootz, secured by the art historian and critic Clement Greenberg, and anchored by the professional and personal support of his first wife, Maria “Miz” Wolfegg (1885–1963). Already 64 by the time of his first solo exhibition at Art of This Century in New York in 1944, Hofmann balanced the demands of teaching and painting until he closed his school in 1956. Doing so enabled him to renew focus on his own painting during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism. For the next twenty years, Hofmann’s voluminous output—powerfully influenced by Matisse’s use of color and Cubism’s displacement of form—developed into an artistic approach and theory he called “push and pull,” which he described as interdependent relationships between form, color, and space. From his early landscapes of the 1930s, to his “slab” paintings of the late 1950s, and his abstract works at the end of his career upon his death in 1966, Hofmann continued to create boldly experimental color combinations and formal contrasts that transcended genre and style.

Hofmann’s work can be found in private and public collections internationally, including:

Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Allied Corporation, Morristown, NJ
Art Gallery of Toronto
Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada
Art institute of Chicago, IL
Aspen Art Museum, CO
Australian national Gallery, Canberra
Berkeley Museum, Berkeley, CA
Brooklyn Museum, NY
Cincinnati Museum, OH
City of Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Germanische National Museum, Nurnberg
Grenoble Museum
High Art Museum, Atlanta, GA
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Honolulu Academy of Arts, HI
Indianapolis Museum of Art
J.B. Speed Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Milwaukee Art Museum, WI
Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX
Montclair Art Museum, NJ
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona
Museum for Contemporary Art, Dallas, TX
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Cleveland Museum of Art, OH

Persian Phantasy, 1953

by Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)

Medium DetailOil on plywood
Dimensions23 x 32 inches
Signed LocationSigned and dated, lower right; Signed, titled and dated on verso
Date Created1953
ProvenanceThe Artist;
The Estate of the Artist (HH-Est#M-0340);
Andre Emmerich Gallery Inc., NY;
Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, NY;
Private Collection, CT
Exhibited"Hans Hofmann,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 20, 1990- September 16, 1990
“Hans Hofmann," Center for the Fine Arts, Miami November 1990- January 1991
"Hans Hofmann," The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia, February 1991- April 1991
LiteratureCynthia Goodman, Hans Hofmann, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1990, p. 104, no. 79 (color illustration)
CommentsVarious gallery stamps and inscriptions on verso
Painted imagery on verso

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