Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hans Hofmann

Fairy Tale. 1944. Oil on wood. 59 x 36". Private Collection.

(1880-1966). German-born painter and teacher who became an American citizen in 1941. From 1904 to 1914 he lived in Paris, where he knew many of the leading figures of Fauvism, Cubism, and Orphism. In 1915 he founded his own art school in Munich and taught there successfully until 1932, when he emigrated to the USA. He founded the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in New York in 1934 (followed the next year by a summer school at Provincetown MA) and became a teacher of great influence on the minority group of American artists who practiced abstract painting during the 1930s. Hofmann continued teaching until 1958, when he closed his schools so he could concentrate on his own painting. He experimented with many styles, and was a pioneer of the technique of dribbling and pouring paint that was later particularly associated with Jackson Pollock. He was an important influence of Abstract Expressionism. The essence of his approach was that the picture surface had an intense life of its own. (Ian Chilvers)

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