The artist Hans Hofmann

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Hofmann quotes....

"It is not the form that dictates the color, but the color that brings out the form.."

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.."

"Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced.."

The Master

Artist Frank Stella sang his praises in his American Heritage magazine essay, “The Artist of the Century.” Students in America’s art schools today are reaping what he sowed through his 40 years of teaching. Artists around the world employ his color theories. Hans Hofmann is a legend....

Hofmann was renowned not only as an artist but as a teacher of art, both in his native Germany and later in the U.S. In Munich he founded an art school, where Louise Nevelson, Wolfgang Paalen, and Alfred Jensen, were among his students. He closed this school in 1932, the year he immigrated to the U.S. (You can find wonderful posters of Hans Hofmann paintings at All posters, use the search box at the bottom of this page!)

Life in America

In America, he initially taught a summer session at the University of California, Berkeley in 1930, after which he returned to Munich. In 1931 he taught another summer session at the University of California, Berkeley and a semester at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles before again returning to Germany. After Hofmann relocated to New York City he began teaching in 1933 at the Art Students League of New York. Leaving the League in the mid 1930s Hofmann opened his own schools in New York and later in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Students of Hofmann

Many famous or notable artists, especially some who could generally be classified as Abstract Expressionists , studied with Hofmann in New York and Provincetown. These distinguished alumni included: Lee Krasner, Israel Levitan, Helen Frankenthaler, Gerome Kamrowski, Joseph Plaskett, Fritz Bultman, William Ronald, Joan Mitchell, Michael Goldberg, Ray Eames, Larry Rivers, Jane Frank, Nell Blaine, Robert de Niro, Sr., Jane Freilicher, Allan Kaprow, Red Grooms, Wolf Kahn, Marisol Escobar, Nicholas Krushenick, Burgoyne Diller, Mercedes Matter, James Gahagan, Erle Loran, Louisa Matthíasdóttir, Judith Godwin, Lynne Mapp Drexler, and Donald Jarvis. (You can find books about these artists using the Amazon Search box at the bottom of this page!)

Prominent writer

In 1958, Hofmann closed his schools in order to devote himself exclusively to his own creative work. Hofmann is a painter and theorist of particular appeal to other artists. American painters and British artists both have been involved in curating retrospectives of Hofmann's work. (There are some great posters of Hofmann's work that you can buy at Allposters. Use the search box at the bottom of this page.)

Also prominent as a writer on modern art, Hofmann authored an influential book (sometimes referred to and anthologized as an "essay"), Search for the Real, in which he discussed his push/pull spatial theories, his reverence for nature as a source for art, his conviction that art has spiritual value, and his philosophy of art in general. Hofmann is especially noteworthy as a theorist of the medium who argued that "each medium of expression has its own order of being," "color is a plastic means of creating intervals," and "any line placed on the canvas is already the fifth."

Hofmann Book Review

I found Hans Hofmann's book, 'Search for the Real' and an interesting book review about it by Jonathon Ryan the "Art Reader." I really enjoyed this book and it has inspired me greatly.

The "Art Reader's" review:

Hans Hofmann's biography is very colorful. And his essay "Search for the Real" was a good read for any artist. Even if you don't really understand it or agree with his ideas, the descriptions of plasticity and push/pull are very enlightening. I'm sure he was an amazing teacher. This book is a good read for any artist, as well as for people who do not make art (to get a better understanding of the mind of the artist). This book was great! I recommend Kandinsky's "Concerning the Spiritual in Art" as a wonderful companion to this book. Between the two your mind can encompass art and thinking that is related to art in new (maybe even familiar) ways.

Wonderful posters......

Hans Hofmann Painting in His Studio
Hans Hofmann Painting in His Studio
16 in. x 16 in. Buy at
Framed   Mounted

Hi! Now you can find the poster of your dreams...It's fun! Just type in your favorite artist...then the link will take you to Allposters where you can choose from many by the artist...Then here comes the best part! You can then see it framed and on a wall in a variety of different settings...even in the bathroom! I think this is a great way to imagine what a painting will look like in your own home....Wonderful! Try it! J.M.Jamolod

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