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The painter Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) is one of the most important figures in post-war American art. In his lifetime, he came to be admired for his exuberant, colour-filled canvases, but it was as an influential teacher, first in his native Germany, later in New York and Provincetown, that he was most renowned. Today, he is celebrated a giant of...
The painter Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) is one of the most important figures in post-war American art. In his lifetime, he came to be admired for his exuberant, colour-filled canvases, but it was as an influential teacher, first in his native Germany, later in New York and Provincetown, that he was most renowned. Today, he is celebrated a giant of twentieth-century abstraction, and his pivotal role, along with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Arshile Gorky, in the development of Abstract Expressionism is widely acknowledged. Published to accompany a retrospective of the artist's work at the Naples Museum of Art, Florida, Hans Hofmann examines the full range of his achievement and influence as both artist and theorist. As a painter, Hofmann was distinguished by his ability to create expressive drama and evocative space with contrasts of intense color, richly modulated surfaces, and a vocabulary of shapes ranging from the geometric to the calligraphic. As a teacher, he brought to America first-hand knowledge of the work of such European modernists as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, who he met as a young man studying in Paris, during the early years of twentieth-century modernism. As a theorist, he developed an original philosophy of what a work of art could be, which formed the basis of his teaching, lectures, and essays. One of these statements, about the role of colour in painting, is included in Hans Hofmann. More than sixty paintings highlight key stages of Hofmann's career, with a generous representation of works from the late flowering of his last decades, when he produced many of his most inventive pictures.
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