HANS HOFMANN C O L O R A N D F O R M E S S AY B Y J A M E S Y O H E Established in 1986 Maximilianstrasse 29 D-80539 München +49 (0) 89 291 612 00 firstname.lastname@example.org www.americancontemporaryartgallery.com
Foreword 2 — d r o w e r o F My wife and I are very pleased to be able to present this publication on the occasion of the tenth exhibition of Hans Hofmann’s work at the american contemporary art GALLERY in Munich. In the year 2000 we met James Yohe, a leading Hofmann authority, for the first time in New York, thanks to our common friend Jason McCoy. Since then we can look back on a great friendship with James and a delightful time in working together. We are more than grateful to him for making it possible to show the oeuvre of Hofmann in our gallery for two decades. Besides the gallery exhibitions we also had helped organizing the following museum exhibitions which showed paintings and works on paper by Hofmann: “L’America di Pollock/Jackson Pollock a Venezia”, Centro Cultura Candiani, Venice-Mestre, Italy, March 23 — June 30, 2002 “Action Painting — Arte Americana 1940–1970”, Fonda- zione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, Italy, organized by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice in colla- boration with american contemporary art GALLERY, November 20, 2004 — March 6, 2005 “Ecole de New York”, MAMAC Nice, France, December 8, 2005 — March 5, 2006 “New York, New York. Fifty Years of Art”, Grimaldi Forum Monaco, July 14 — September 10, 2006; with Otto Hübner as curator in the field of Abstract Expressionism The one-man exhibition “Hans Hofmann — Magnum Opus”, Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern (mpk), Germany, March 9 — June 17, 2013 “Peggy Guggenheim e la nuova pittura Americana”, Museo San Marco, ARCA, Chiesa di San Marco, Vercelli, Italy, November 21, 2008 — March 1, 2009 and the following group shows “Das Gedächtnis der Malerei”, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland, August 27 — November 19, 2000 “Da Kandinsky a Pollock. La vertigine della non-forma”, Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano, Italy, September 29, 2001 — January 6, 2002 “Le grand geste! Informel und Abstrakter Expressio- nismus 1946–1964”, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany, April 4 — August 1, 2010 “Das Geistige in der Kunst. Vom Blauen Reiter zum Abstrakten Expressionismus”, Museum Wiesbaden, Germany, October 31, 2010 — February 27, 2011 “Pollock’s Amerika: Jackson Pollock. The Irascibles and the New York School”, Museo Correr, Venice, Italy, and “Abstraction Américaine Fondation Fernet-Branca, Saint-Louis, France, June 2 — September 22, 2013. (American Abstraction)”,
With this publication and gallery exhibition we are celebrating this longtime relationship. At this occasion we also would like to express our deep gratitude to the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust, especially to the individual trustee Patricia A. Gallagher, for her great kindness and continuing encouragement. Furthermore we would like to thank Stacey Gershon (collection manager of the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust), the Miles McEnery Gallery and Lucinda Barnes (Chief Curator of the Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California) for their generous cooperation. Without their support this show would not have been possible. It is a wonderful selection from the artist’s works between 1937 to 1963, each one of a pristine quality. We are hoping that you will find time to see this exhibition and that this will give us some time to talk about Hans Hofmann and our common passion for the art. Otto and Kirstin Hübner 3 — d r o w e r o F
C O N T E N T S 4 — s t n e t n o C Foreword 2 1960s 36 Discovering Hans Hofmann Chronology Hans Hofmann James Yohe 39 Selected Museum Collections 44 Imprint 46 5 1930s 12 1940s 14 1950s 34
D I S C OV E R I N G HANS HOFMANN BY JAMES YOHE It is the color development that determines the form. Hans Hofmann, “The Color Problem in Pure Painting — Its Creative Origin“, in Hans Hofmann. A Retrospective by Karen Wilkin, New York: George Braziller Publishers, 2003, p. 42.
6 — e h o Y s e m a J Experience is the key to understanding. It is true in life and it is true in art. Coming to terms with the work of Hans Hofmann is no different. Hofmann was born March 21, 1880 in Weissenburg, a small town in the heartland of Bavaria, Germany. The date gives insight into his place in history. His long life would be interwoven with the lives and work of the French Impressionists, German Expressionists, Blaue Reiter, Cubists, Orphic Cubists, the Abstract Expressionists, and even the Color Field painters. Yet the revelation of his work was slow to come in America and later still to arrive in his homeland. This is not entirely surprising, when you consider the factors at play in the art and the world during critical moments of his career, both in the United States and in Germany. In America at a time when many artists branded themselves with a signature style, Hofmann avoided that at all costs. In the words of Henri Matisse, whose color evolutions continued to inspire Hofmann’s own, “An artist must never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, prisoner of success.”1 I am reminded of a story, which could be fictional, of one of his former students walking past the lovely garden in front of the Hofmann home on Commercial Street in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Hans had closed the school by then, moved his studio into the classroom, and was painting up a storm in the midst of significant exhibitions. Miz, his companion since 1902, was puttering in the garden, which usually made her even more cheerful, but this time she was weeping. Naturally, the student stopped to ask, “Miz, why are you crying?” She answered that she had just come from the studio, where she had found Hans pouring paint over a most beautiful painting. The student asked, “Why would he do that?” and Miz responded, “It - looked - too - much - like - a - Hofmann!” To my mind, the painting entitled The Vanquished, 1959, is very possibly that painting. That brutal splash of black paint right across the belly of the painting obliterates its familiar planes of color, transforming the experience of the painting from comfortable to confrontational. Hofmann’s art is seldom easy. On first take, some viewers might be taken aback. There is too much—too much color and too much going on. Sometimes it seems a mess, and it is, but the mess is a glorious one. Some artists paint short stories. Hofmann painted novels. Few artists are as complex, and fewer still as rewarding. The challenge is to venture into his difficult complexity but do it—and that richness gives an ample reward. Hofmann was an immigrant artist, one of the first of the few German artists to arrive in the US during the rise of the Nazi Party and the oncoming World War II. One thinks also of George Grosz, some from the Bauhaus, and Max Ernst. Hofmann was welcomed as a great European master teacher to the University of California at Berkeley. Yet, at the age of fifty, he was without a substantial body of work. Much of his early work was lost in Paris when he returned to Munich as World War I began and the rest would be destroyed in the bombing of Munich during World War II. At that point he already lived the true definition of the international artist: a man with a foot in all worlds, changing as they changed, but fully belonging to none. His painting was more French than German, for he had numbered among Pablo Picasso’s small circle of friends in Paris during the feverish invention of Cubism, as well as the Robert Delaunay circle of Orphic Cubists. The story of Hofmann is also the story of his dealers. Hofmann had his first New York exhibition, First exhibition: Hans Hofmann, at Peggy Guggenheim’s legendary gallery Art of This Century. In 1947 he was represented by Betty Parsons and then Sam Kootz, the Southern gentleman who wrote a play produced by the former American Negro Theatre (Home is the Hunter), and who wanted to exhibit the stars of European art as much as he wanted to exhibit the young American unknowns and thus break away from European dominance in the arts. For a year and a half, from the spring of 1948 to the fall of 1949, Kootz became Pablo Picasso’s sole world representative, during which time Kootz arranged Hofmann’s post-war return to Paris 1 Jack D. Flam, “Jazz”, 1947, in Matisse On Art, New York: Phaidon Press, 1973, pp. 110 ff.
7 — e h o Y s e m a J HANS HOFMANN, 1951, in his Provincetown home with two Eames chairs given to him by Ray Eames and his painting Cataclysm: Homage to Howard Putzel, 1945, hanging above.
8 — e h o Y s e m a J with a 1949 show at the Galerie Maeght with Picasso in attendance. Thereafter Hofmann would continue to show almost every year with Kootz until the end of his life. André Emmerich, representative for the Hofmann Estate from 1966 to 1991, was also an immigrant from Germany. At Oberlin College André broke free of his accent but retained a fluency in English, German, Dutch, and French as well as a competency in Italian and Spanish. Years later when he opened his first gallery in 1954 André’s talent for languages made it a favorite for international clientele. Hofmann’s own accent held fast, and his patois of German, French, and English remained incomprehensible to most. The red carpet that initially welcomed him rolled back up as soon as he opened his own art schools in New York and Provincetown in the grip of the Great Depression. Impoverished, unknown, with a confident and intimidating German bearing that, once war broke out, would remind Americans of their enemy, he would never again be outspoken in his political views. He was not a heavy drinker; his poor hearing and his age made him a quiet presence in crowds at the Cedar Tavern and heated debates at the Artists’ Club. Hofmann was hardly the rebel hero. Yet the artists knew him, and many Abstract Expressionists dropped by his home and studio in Provincetown or met him in the gallery openings and studios of New York. Hofmann had catalyzed their movement: he had brought them Cubism early on. He had joined in their automatist experiments, their panels and exhibitions. The young art students of the Beat Generation in Greenwich Village, who challenged all authority including the European art world, respected him immensely. From the late 1950s on, Hofmann became recognized as one who had changed the course of American art, having influenced not only his peers and the legions of artists who attended his schools, but also the art critics, historians, collectors, and art dealers of his day. His 1957 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Hans Hofmann, joined articles in the magazines Life2 and Look3. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems odd that he was not widely recognized as a leader, or even a member, of the Abstract Expressionists. In 1950, he had signed the legendary open letter to the President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Roland L. Redmont. Unfortunately in Nina Leen’s famous photograph of “The Irascibles” for Life magazine published in January 1951 Hofmann is noticeably missing. He was unable to make it to the photo session and a small but iconic moment of history was forever changed4. interest After almost thirty years of only modest exposure in European museums an in Hofmann was reignited in 1997 with the solo exhibition Hans Hofmann: Wunder des Rhythmus und Schönheit des Raumes at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau in Munich. In September of the same year it reopened at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt. Today both institutions have important examples of Hofmann’s work in their permanent collections. At the time Tina Dickey, who had contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue, was conducting an Estate inventory and writing Color Creates Light. Studies with Hans Hofmann5. She would soon become the first Editor of the Hofmann Catalogue Raisonné for the initial nine years of the project. The timing of the exhibition was remarkable in that the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust had just been established in 1996, after what had seemed an eternity for those of us representing the Hans Hofmann Estate ever since the tragic death in 1992 of Hofmann’s second wife, Renate Hofmann. Encouraged by Robert Warshaw, 2 “A Master Teacher: Hans Hofmann Influenced Three Decades of U.S. Art”, in Life, 8 April 1957, pp. 72–76. 3 “Living in a Painting: Hans Hofmann Has Made His House a Series of Still Lifes”, in Look, 28 July 1953, pp. 52–55. 4 B.H. Friedman, “The Irascibles”: A Split Second in Art History, in Arts Magazine, September 1978, p. 102. 5 Tina Dickey, Color Creates Light. Studies with Hans Hofmann, Victoria, BC, Canada: Trillistar Books, 2011.
longtime artists’ Estate attorney, the original members of the Trust threw their support behind the exhibition at the Lenbachhaus and the Catalogue Raisonné project. This 1997 Lenbachhaus exhibition was not Hofmann’s first museum exhibition in Germany. Four decades earlier, the German scholar and art critic Eduard Trier had been stunned by the 1957 Whitney retrospective. Over the next five years, he had convinced German museums to organize a traveling show in Germany. Thus, on the heels of Hofmann’s inclusion in the XXX Venice Biennale (with Philip Guston, Franz Kline, and Theodore Roszak), a plane landed in Nuremberg in 1962 with crates of Hofmann paintings for the first of four museum exhibitions: the Fränkische Galerie am Marientor, the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, the Kongresshalle Berlin, and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich. Soon thereafter, a show of nearly forty small Oils on paper, 1961-62, arrived at the Neue Galerie im Künstlerhaus, Munich, on its way to the Anderson-Mayer Galerie in Paris in the spring of 1963. Two original hand-painted posters made for the Anderson-Mayer exhibition are included in this exhibition at the american contemporary art GALLERY (pp. 36–37). In 1963 a major Hans Hofmann retrospective organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Hans Hofmann, opened there on September 11. In its wake the MoMA retrospective traveled extensively throughout the United States, South America and Europe. The European venue in 1965 included the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna in Turin, Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart and the Kunstverein in Hamburg. The exhibition was perhaps the most celebrated moment of Hofmann’s career in his lifetime. It closed on October 10, 1965 at the Städtisches Kunsthaus in Bielefeld, a little more than four months before his death on February 17, 1966. Over the next three decades sporadic exhibitions kept Hofmann’s name alive in Europe. The Galerie Onnasch arranged a traveling exhibition in Cologne, and in 1978 Emmerich held a Hofmann solo show in his Zurich gallery followed in 1990 by an exhibition mounted by the Crane Gallery in London which traveled to Berlin and Cologne. The 1988 Tate Gallery exhibition in London, inspired by the Hans Hofmann: Late Paintings, suggestion of the renowned English sculptor Sir Anthony Caro and curated by the British painter John Hoyland, would be the only museum exhibition anywhere near Europe. During these years, the designer and scholar Peter Ruthenberg in Berlin had been getting to know elderly artists, some of whom knew each other. It turned out they had all studied with Hofmann in Munich. Between 1985 and 1988, he curated exhibitions in Hamburg and Berlin, and published catalogues on former Hofmann students Waldtraut Niepmann, Alf Bayrle, Heinrich Fischer, and eight others. His work laid the foundations for what we know of the teaching and the students in the early Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in Munich. Dickey’s essay on the school for the scholarly publication Münchner Moderne: Kunst und Architektur der zwanziger Jahre (2002) and her history of the school online in the Historisches Lexikon Bayerns combined his research with her findings on the American students studying with Hofmann in Germany. the When 1997 Lenbachhaus exhibition opened, individual Hofmann works were rarely seen in German museums or galleries, as would be the case for nearly two more decades. It was Otto Hübner, his wife Kirstin Hübner, and their american contemporary art GALLERY who made a concerted effort to keep Hofmann in the public view for the next twenty years in Munich and throughout Europe, including exhibitions in France, Italy, Monaco and Switzerland. Their lengthy exhibitions and Kirstin’s thoughtful catalogue essays—combined with Otto’s own laser-like focus—galvanized attention for Hofmann’s work among European museums, historians, and collectors. The new wave of art galleries and exhibitions in the US were among the first to perceive the quality of Hofmann’s work. This rings true from Guggenheim, Parsons, Kootz and Emmerich to Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe, and today Miles McEnery and the gallery that flies his flag. As it rings true of the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust, whose current co-trustees are Patricia A. Gallagher and the JPMorgan Chase Bank have since 9 — e h o Y s e m a J
0 1 — e h o Y s e m a J 1996 produced an explosion of notable exhibitions in both America and Germany. The most recent, Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction, opened earlier this year at the Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California (BAMPFA) and reopened at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts (PEM) until January 5, 2020. Curated by Lucinda Barnes at BAMPFA, the exhibition has been reinstalled with an engaging new point of view by Lydia Gordon, Associate Curator at PEM. In this exhibition and with so many others sponsored by the Hofmann Trust, their collection manager, Stacey Gershon, has been the helping hand tirelessly coordinating the many moving parts. In 1974 I arrived in the world of art with a Master’s Degree in painting, my youthful enthusiasm, and little else. Emmerich became my mentor. I began installing shows as his gallery assistant and moved into sales, which led to assisting historians and museums with reproductions or loans. It has been a privilege and an inspiring journey. Like the ripples from a rock thrown into a pond, my involvements spread out in larger circles than I would have ever imagined. My experience with the greatest impact was editing the 2002 and 2006 Rizzoli publications of Hans Hofmann. The original idea had been only to reprint the monograph by Sam Hunter that Abrams had published in 1963, but it became quickly apparent that the book, published in Hofmann’s lifetime, needed substantial revision and to be updated. Although Sam Hunter’s essay had been the gold standard on Hofmann for decades, it was time to complete the story of Hofmann’s life. When the Abrams book came out in 1963, Hofmann had not yet painted some of his most significant works. Moreover, there were only a handful of color reproductions— I added over forty to the 2002 publication and over thirty more to the second printing. Essays by other authors were also included. Dickey’s seminal essay, The Decisive Moment, connected his late work and its color planes to the process of working on a mosaic mural at 711 Third Avenue in New York in 1955-56. Frank Stella’s essay, The Artist of the Century, established Hofmann’s importance within the spectrum of twentieth century art and the keen relevance of his work today. Lowery Stokes Sims, former President of the Studio Museum in Harlem and Curator Emerita at The Museum of Arts and Design, curated a major 1999 exhibition, Hans Hofmann in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2013, the Trust was interested in supporting a German museum exhibition, and at Otto Hübner’s suggestion, Britta Buhlmann, director at the Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, brought Hofmann to the mpk with the exhibition Hans Hofmann - Magnum Opus—she had the good sense to boil the museum’s name down to a lower case “mpk” and the clarity to see the merit in keeping Hofmann‘s name alive in Germany. Accordingly, in 2018 the mpk hosted another exhibition of early drawings from his European years and his summers in California, Hofmanns Wege. Frühe Zeichnungen 1898-1937. It was probably the first time that this rich trove of works had ever been seen in Europe. A third Hofmann show related to his Chimbote mural studies is currently planned for the future. The Trust also initiated the 2017 Kunsthalle Bielefeld exhibition, Creation in Form and Color: Hans Hofmann. Brought to fruition with the help of the Berkeley Art Museum and curated by Barnes, the show reopened in 2018 at the Musée national d’histoire et d’art in Luxembourg. This tenth Hofmann exhibition at the american contemporary art GALLERY represents one vein of the final stages in Hofmann’s half century struggle to empower color as the primary structural force in painting, culminating in the 1951 Polynesian (pp. 34-35) — a startling and brief reconnection with realism following five years of purely abstract work. After a lifetime of working from nude models and portraits of friends, Hofmann had internalized the figure to the same degree that he had internalized the landscape and still life (Landscape No.11, 1942, pp. 14-15). The Polynesian series, along with Perpetuita of the same year, would be his last works with a realistic human figure. The title of the series perhaps reflects an American fascination with elements of Tiki culture in the decade before Hawaii became a state. The title also brings to mind Matisse’s enormous Oceania cut-outs of 1946, yet it is unlikely that Hofmann would have known
simultaneous, about them until after he had painted that series. The color planes of Polynesian included in this exhibition evoke those in Matisse’s book of smaller cut-outs, Jazz, which Hofmann would have seen when it was published in 1947. During his 1949 trip to Paris, Hofmann may have encountered recent work by Matisse while visiting the ateliers of Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, Georges Braque, and others. More importantly, when it came to the relationship between color and form, Hofmann and Matisse had all along cherished the same challenges and pursued similar inner dialogues. Hofmann’s fifty-year battle to fully engage color as the primary structural force in painting passed through a variety of intertwined branches, gorgeously reproduced in page after page in the 2014 Hans Hofmann Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings. This particular vein on view at the american contemporary art GALLERY relies on the use of black to establish painterly movement and form, sometimes in combination with one or two other colors, as in the yellow of Composition, 1946 (pp. 26-27), or the red of Untitled, 1944 (p. 17) and the orange of Untitled, 1945 (pp. 20- 21), now in the american contemporary art GALLERY exhibition. Such a limited palette of black, grey, and ochre is reminiscent of the limitations Hofmann would place on his new students. Works by Hofmann in this exhibition such as Sommernachtträume, 1945 (pp. 24-25), White on Black, 1945 (pp. 22-23), Exorbitance, 1949 (pp. 32-33), and Black, Grey and Brown, 1946 (pp. 28-29) are all examples of the approach. He encouraged his students to find, among a system of values, an equivalence of the color and spatial relations of the model or still life they were painting—because the ability to see color, like the ability to see depth, is fundamentally a learned experience and integral to the ability to relate to color movement in depth! Hofmann did not make drawings as studies for paintings, nor did he emulate the work of his peers. Each drawing was an exploration of its own, and each of Hofmann’s leaps into a new dialogue with paint would incorporate all he had seen, as he developed his own language to express his own life experience. Thus the visual conversation that recommenced with Kootz’s Picasso artworks and Matisse’s Jazz in 1947 took a couple of years to integrate into Hofmann’s own work (Dark Transition, 1947, pp. 30-31), and was sure to have contributed to his delirious, liberated color and the emergence of the quadrilateral polygons of 1950 (Magenta and Blue, The Window, and the Chimbote series). Having found the power of the free-floating plane, Hofmann briefly circled back to subject matter in 1951, perhaps literally to ground his discovery in reality by using color planes to shape the portrait of Polynesian. In that context, the Untitled watercolor dated 1937 (pp. 12-13), like Paul Sérusier’s Talisman, is something of a Rosetta Stone. Overlaid on a drawn Cubist interior are simple color planes establishing directional movements in space. Simply put, it shows the transition from place to plane. Hofmann’s work is often beyond ambitious. Think of his art as visually gymnastic. It took me a long time to reckon with Hofmann, for one must first grasp the visual logic of his color, shape and composition. A mysterious catalyst defying categorization, Hofmann could never be as American as his more famous colleagues; he could never be as provincial in his outlook or his work. For Hofmann’s views on art incorporated the great sweep of history he had absorbed in the museums and ateliers of Europe. Nor could Hofmann remain as European as his peers. His painting may be more French than German, but to both, he was American! And in America, an alien. Where does his work fit in? It’s a riddle that slowed him from being a super star yet never diminished the effect his work has had on others. Artists have known ever since the caves of Lascaux that paint creates magic: a universe for the mind and eye. Hofmann felt connected to those roots and all the artists who followed. He believed there was no greater calling than that of artist: the noblest of human endeavors. James Yohe 1 1 — e h o Y s e m a J
UNTITLED, c. 1937 Watercolor and pencil on paper 14 x 22 inches 35.6 x 55.9 cm Signed “hans hofmann” (lower right recto) 3 1 — s 0 3 9 1
4 1 — s 0 4 9 1 LANDSCAPE NO. 11, 1942 Oil on panel 30 x 35 1/8 inches 76.2 x 89.2 cm
6 1 — s 0 4 9 1 UNTITLED, c. 1944 Gouache, crayon and ink on paper 14 x 11 inches / 35.6 x 27.9 cm Initialed (lower right recto)
7 1 — s 0 4 9 1 UNTITLED, c. 1944 Gouache and ink on paper 17 x 14 inches 43.2 x 35.6 cm
UNTITLED, 1945 Gouache on paper 14 x 17 inches 35.6 x 43.2 cm 9 1 — s 0 4 9 1
0 2 — s 0 4 9 1 UNTITLED, c. 1945 Gouache and crayon on paper 14 x 17 inches 35.6 x 43.2 cm
WHITE IN BLACK, 1945 Gouache and ink on paperboard 22 x 25 3/4 inches 55.9 x 65.4 cm Signed and dated “hans hofmann 45” (lower right recto) Signed and painted on reverse 3 2 — s 0 4 9 1
4 2 — s 0 4 9 1 SOMMERNACHTTRÄUME, 1945 Gouache and ink on paper 18 x 24 inches 46 x 61 cm Signed with initials “HH” (lower right recto)
COMPOSITION, 1946 Oil on panel 30 x 35 inches 76.2 x 88.9 cm Signed and dated “VII.3.46 / hans hofmann” (lower right recto) Verso upper left [MH]: “30 x 35” 7 2 — s 0 4 9 1
8 2 — s 0 4 9 1 BLACK, GREY AND BROWN, 1946 Oil on board mounted on canvas 30 x 40 inches 76.2 x 101.6 cm Signed and dated “hans hofmann XI 17 46” (lower right recto)
DARK TRANSITION, 1947 Oil on panel 24 x 30 inches 61 x 76.2 cm 1 3 — s 0 4 9 1
2 3 — s 0 4 9 1 EXORBITANCE, 1949 Mixed media on paper 17 x 14 inches 43.2 x 35.6 cm Signed and dated “hans hofmann 49” (lower right recto)
POLYNESIAN, 1951 Oil on canvas 24 x 20 inches 61 x 50.8 cm Signed and dated “51/hans hofmann” (lower right recto) 5 3 — s 0 5 9 1
6 3 — s 0 6 9 1 ORIGINAL STUDY POSTER FOR ANDERSON-MAYER GALERIE, 1963 Gouache on paper 23 1/2 x 18 inches 59.7 x 45.7 cm Signed “hans hofmann” (upper part recto)
7 3 — s 0 6 9 1 ANDERSON-MAYER EXHIBITION POSTER, 1963 Gouache on paper 23 1/4 x 18 inches 59.1 x 45.7 cm Signed “hans hofmann” (lower part recto)
When I start to paint — want to forget all I know about painting. I take for granted that my knowledge has become second nature. Hans Hofmann, Typescript, April 1, 1950, from Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (Hans Hofmann Papers)
Chronology H a n s H o f m a n n
0 4 — y g o o n o r h C l 1880 Hans Hofmann is born in Weissenburg, Bavaria, Germany, on 21 March. His father Theodor Hofmann, a government official, and his mother Franziska, the daughter of a prominent brewer and wine producer, have three sons and two daughters. Hans is the second son. 1886 The family moves to Munich. Hofmann attends public schools and develops special in mathematics, science and music. He plays the violin, piano and organ, and begins to draw. interests 1896 With his father’s help, he finds a position as assistant to the director of public works of the state of Bavaria. He patents several scientific inventions. 1898 Hofmann studies painting with Willi Schwarz, who introduces him to Impressionism, at Moritz Heymann’s art school in Munich. 1900 Hofmann meets Maria “Miz” Wolfegg, his future wife. 1903 Through Willi Schwarz, Hofmann meets Phillip Freudenberg, the nephew of a Berlin collector, who becomes his patron from 1904 to 1914 and enables him to live in Paris (though he often spends his summers in Germany). 1904 Hofmann frequents Café du Dome, a haunt of artists and writers, with Jules Pascin, a friend from Mortiz Heymann’s school. Miz joins him in Paris. Hofmann attends evening sketch classes at the École Colarossi, where he meets Picasso, Braque and Matisse. 1908 Hofmann exhibits with the Neue Sezession in Berlin, and again in 1909. 1910 Hofmann’s first solo exhibition is held at Paul Cassirer Gallery, Berlin. He meets and befriends Robert Delaunay, who co-founded the Orphism art movement, known for its use of color and geometric shapes. 1914 Hofmann and Miz leave Paris for Corsica, where Hofmann recuperates from tuberculosis. An illness of Hofmann’s sister leads them to return to Germany. The outbreak of World War I forces them to remain there. Financial assistance from Phillip Freudenberg ends. 1915 Ineligible for the army due to the aftereffects of his lung condition, Hofmann opens the Schule für Bildende Kunst in Munich. 1918 After the war, Hofmann’s school becomes known abroad. Between 1922 and 1929, he holds summer sessions in Bavaria, Yugoslavia, Italy, and France. He makes frequent trips to Paris. He has little time to paint, but draws continually. 1924 Hofmann marries Miz Wolfegg. 1930 At the invitation of former student Worth Ryder, Hofmann teaches a summer session at the University of California, Berkeley, where Ryder is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art. Hofmann returns to Munich for the winter. 1931 In the spring, he teaches at the Chouinard School of Art, Los Angeles, and again at Berkeley in the summer. He exhibits drawings at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco—his first solo exhibition in the United States. 1932 He returns to the Chouinard School of Art in the summer. Advised by Miz not to return to Munich because of growing political hostility toward intellectuals in Germany, Hofmann settles in New York. Former student Vaclav Vytlacil helps arrange a teaching position at The Art Students League of New York. 1933 Hofmann spends the summer as a guest instructor at the Thurn School of Art in Gloucester, Massachusetts. In the fall, he opens a school in New York at 444 Madison Avenue and begins to paint again. 1934 Hofmann travels to Bermuda, where he stays for several months before returning to the United States with a permanent visa. He teaches again at the Thurn School of Art and opens the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts at 137 East 57th Street in New York.
1935 Hofmann opens a summer school in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 1936 Hofmann moves his school to 52 West 9th Street in New York. 1938 The Hofmann School moves again, to 52 West 8th Street, its permanent home in New York until 1958. Hofmann’s lecture series at the school in the winter of 1938-39 is attended by such figures as Arshile Gorky and Clement Greenberg. 1939 Miz Hofmann arrives in America and joins her husband. From that year on, they spend five months each summer in Provincetown and the rest of the year in New York. 1941 Hofmann becomes an American citizen. He delivers an address at the annual meeting of American Abstract Artists at the Riverside Museum and has a solo exhibition at the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans. 1942 Lee Krasner, formerly a Hofmann student, introduces him to Jackson Pollock. 1944 Hofmann has his first exhibition in New York at Peggy Guggenheim’s The Art of This Century Gallery. Hans Hofmann, Paintings 1941-1944 opens at The Arts Club of Chicago and travels to the Milwaukee Art Institute. Hofmann’s paintings are included in Forty American Moderns at 67 Gallery and Abstract and Surrealist Art in America at the Mortimer Brandt Gallery (arranged by Sidney Janis in conjunction with the publication of Janis’ book of the same title) in New York. Hofmann meets the critic Clement Greenberg, and his close friendship with the author and critic Harold Rosenberg begins. 1945 Hofmann is included in Contemporary American Painting at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He is included in all subsequent Whitney painting annuals during his lifetime. 1947 Hofmann exhibits at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. He begins to exhibit with the Kootz Gallery, New York, which would hold a solo show of Hofmann’s work each year (except 1948 and 1956) until the artist’s death. 1948 There is a retrospective exhibition of Hofmann’s work at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA in conjunction with the publication of his book The Search for the Real and Other Essays. 1949 Hofmann travels to Paris to attend the opening of his exhibition at the Galerie Maeght and visits the studios of Picasso, Braque, Brancusi and Miró. He helps Fritz Bultman and Weldon Kees organize Forum 49, a summer series of lectures and exhibitions at Gallery 200 in Provincetown. 1950 Hofmann participates in a symposium at Studio 35 with William Baziotes, James Brooks, Willem de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Theodoros Stamos, David Smith and Bradley Walker Tomlin. He joins “The Irascibles,” a group of Abstract Expressionist artists in an open letter protesting the exclusion of the avant- garde from an upcoming exhibition of American Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 1951 Hofmann juries the 60th Annual American Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago with Aline Louchheim and Peter Blume. 1954 Hofmann has a solo exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. 1955 Clement Greenberg organizes a small retro- spective of Hofmann’s paintings at Bennington College in Vermont. 1956 Hofmann designs mosaic murals for the lobby of the William Kaufmann Building, 711 Third Avenue, New York. A retrospective is held at the Art Alliance in Philadelphia. 1957 A retrospective exhibition is held at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. It travels to Des Moines, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Utica and Baltimore. 1 4 — y g o o n o r h C l
2 4 — y g o o n o r h C l 1958 Hofmann ceases teaching to devote himself to painting. He moves his studios into his former New York and Provincetown schools. He completes a mosaic mural for the New York School of Printing at 439 West 49th Street. 1960 Hofmann represents the United States, along with Philip Guston, Franz Kline, and Theodore Roszac, at the Venice Biennale. 1962 A retrospective exhibition opens at the Fränkische Galerie am Marientor, Nuremburg, Germany, and travels to Cologne, Berlin and Munich. The exhibition Oils on Paper 1961-1962 opens in Munich. Hofmann is awarded honorary membership in the Akademie der Bildenden Kunst in Nuremberg and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by Dartmouth College. 1963 Miz Hofmann dies. A retrospective exhibition, Hans Hofmann and His Students, organized by William Seitz under the auspices of The Museum of Modern Art, travels throughout the United States, South America, and Europe. Hofmann signs an agreement to donate forty-five paintings to the University of California, Berkeley, to fund the construction of a gallery in his honor. 1964 Hofmann receives an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim International Award. He becomes a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York. Renate Schmitz inspires “The Renate Series.” 1965 Hofmann is awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by Pratt Institute, New York. He marries Renate Schmitz and completes “The Renate Series.” 1966 Hofmann’s final exhibition at the Kootz Gallery, New York, opens on 1 February. He dies on 17 February in New York. His exhibition at Kootz closes 26 February. Courtesy, the Hans Hofmann Catalogue Raisonné Project
MIZ HOFMANN, c. 1958, in her garden, Provincetown, Photographer unknown.
S e l e c t e d Museum Collections
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada Art Institute of Chicago, IL Art Museum of South Texas, TX Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, TX Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand Baltimore Museum of Art, MD Berkeley Art Museum, University of California, CA The Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, TX Brooklyn Museum, NY Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh PA Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Honolulu Academy of Arts, HI Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL Kunsthaus Hamburg, Germany Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA Chrystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK Cincinnati Art Museum, OH The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH Dallas Museum of Art, TX Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DL Fundacion Juan March, Madrid, Spain Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, MO Milwaukee Art Museum, WI Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA Musée de Grenoble, France Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL 5 4 — s n o i t c e l l o C m u e s u M
6 4 — s n o i t c e l l o C m u e s u M Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX The Museum of Modern Art, NY National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra The Newark Museum, NJ Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany Tate Collection, London, United Kingdom Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, KA University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN Whitney Museum of American Art, NY Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
In nature, light creates the color; in the picture, color creates light. Hans Hofmann, “On Light and Color”, in Search for the Real and Other Essays, Sara T. Weeks and Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr., eds., 1948; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994, p. 67.