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Hans Hofmann Art

German, 1897-1957

The only artist of the New York school to participate directly in European modernism, Hans Hofmann became known as the major exponent of Abstract Expressionism. His paintings are known for their manic, exuberant energy. Among 20th-century masters, he was the first to consolidate and codify the lessons of modernism into a teaching system. Hofmann was also a widely-influential art instructor with schools in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was described by "New York Times" critic Clement Greenberg as "the most important teacher of our time". (Falk 1590). Approximately six-thousand students studied modernist art with him, among the well-known names are Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Wolf Kahn, Larry Rivers and Nell Blaine.

Hans Hofmann was born in Weissenberg, Germany, showed a precocious interest in music and science, and had early training in mechanics while working for the Director of Public Works of Bavaria between 1896 and 1898. On that job, he invented the electromagnetic comptometer, the precursor of the adding machine.

He began to study art in 1898 in Munich where he was introduced to Impressionism. From 1904 to 1914, he studied in Paris and was exposed to many of the avant-garde artists and movements of that time including Fauvism, Cubism, and Surrealism. He was much taken with the exploration of pure color for its own sake, especially as investigated by Picasso, Braque, Matisse, and Delaunay.

In Munich at the outbreak of World War I, he founded an art school and was highly successful until 1932 when he emigrated to America, having spent the summers in 1930 and 1931 teaching at the University of California at Berkeley.

In 1932, he began teaching at the Arts Students League in New York and the following year opened his own schools in New York and Provincetown, Massachusetts. During the 1930s and 1940s, American Scene painting was prevalent, but he resisted that style, staying with the modernism to which he had been exposed in Europe. Hence he was later credited as a courageous pioneer in America of European modern art.

He closed both of his schools in 1958 so he could devote himself full time to his own painting. He died in New York City in 1966.

Hofmann said he always based his paintings on the subject of nature, and he used vivid colors such as bright blues, greens oranges and yellows and applied them with palette knives in long slashing strokes. He viewed the surface of the canvas as alive, responsive, and active, often with opposing forces which he created with his theory of "push and pull," and which is closely tied to theories of Paul Cezanne. He also experimented with dripping paint onto the canvas, a method Jackson Pollock learned and later made famous.

Source: Matthew Baigell, "Dictionary of American Art"
Michael David Zellman, "300 Years of American Art" Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

(Biography provided by Fine Art San Diego)
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Artist: Hans Hofmann
Untitled
By Hans Hofmann
Located in Greenwich, CT
Abstract gouache on paper
Category

1940s Abstract Hans Hofmann Art

Materials

Paper, Gouache

Untitled
By Hans Hofmann
Located in Greenwich, CT
Abstract Expressionist drawing.
Category

1940s Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann Art

Materials

Crayon, Ink, Paper

Kootz Gallery, abstraction
By Hans Hofmann
Located in New York, NY
A vibrant, Miro like work celebrating his exhibition at the famous Kootz gallery. This piece serves as historical work and and artistic expression of joie de vivre! In 1947 Hans Ho...
Category

1940s Abstract Hans Hofmann Art

Materials

Oil, Archival Paper

Untitled
By Hans Hofmann
Located in Greenwich, CT
Abstract expressionist landscape drawing.
Category

1940s Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann Art

Yellow Vase
By Hans Hofmann
Located in Palm Desert, CA
A painting by Hans Hofmann. "Yellow Vase" is still-life abstract painting, oil on panel executed in the primary colors by Post-War Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann. Hofmann is one...
Category

Mid-20th Century Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann Art

Materials

Oil, Panel

Provincetown Drawing - Pen & Ink - 1942 - Massachusetts
By Hans Hofmann
Located in Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Title: "Provincetown Drawing" Medium: pen and ink on paper Dimensions: 14 x 16 3/4 inches Signed: Initialed and dated 1942 Provenance: Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, Californi...
Category

1940s Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann Art

Materials

Paper, Ink, Pen

Figure and Female Nude
By Hans Hofmann
Located in New York, NY
Figure and Female Nude, ca. 1925, by Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) Pencil on paper 17 x 14 inches unframed (43.18 x 35.56 cm) Description: This figurative drawing by German-American arti...
Category

Early 20th Century Hans Hofmann Art

Materials

Paper, Pencil

Crucifixion
By Hans Hofmann
Located in New York, NY
Crucifixion, ca. 1925, by Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) Pencil on paper 17 x 14 inches unframed (43.18 x 35.56 cm) Description: This figure drawing by Hans Hofmann provides a unique look...
Category

Early 20th Century Post-Modern Hans Hofmann Art

Materials

Pencil

"Untitled (Red, blue, grey, with white slab)" Hans Hofmann Gouache Painting
By Hans Hofmann
Located in Danvers, MA
Within this striking gouache on paper, Hofmann skillfully employs just four dominant colors— teal, light green, red, and white— along with gestural black outlines to create a powerfu...
Category

1950s Modern Hans Hofmann Art

Materials

Paper, Gouache

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20th Century Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann Art

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An abstract painting by Hans Hofmann. "The Chair" is an oil on panel, abstract painting executed in bright yellows, lime green, blues, violets and oranges by Post War artist Hans Hof...
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By Hans Hofmann
Located in Greenville, DE
ATTRIBUTED to Hans Hofmann. Initialed "HH" lower right. Oil on Masonite, Ca 1959. Forty - Seventh Street Gallery, 25 W. 47th St. New York label on reverse.
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Located in New York, NY
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Hans Hofmann art for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs offers a wide variety of authentic Hans Hofmann art for sale. You can also browse by medium to find art by Hans Hofmann in paint, paper, gouache and more. Much of this artist's original work was created during the 20th century and is mostly associated with the abstract style. Not every interior allows for large Hans Hofmann art, so small editions measuring 7.5 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the works of Bill Jensen, Lena Cher and Angelo Ippolito. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $4,500 and tops out at $105,000, while the average work can sell for $28,000.

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Questions About Hans Hofmann Art
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Hans Hoffman was a German-born American painter who was very influential to the Abstract Expressionism movement. He was very active in the European avant-garde and enjoyed experimenting with some of the newer techniques of the era. Hoffman went on to establish a school of art, which is considered the first modern school of art anywhere. His teachings are very well known and highly regarded. On 1stDibs, find a variety of original artwork from top artists worldwide.

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