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Hans Hofmann

American, 1880-1966


Curating Works


Hans Hofmann was born in Weissenburg, Germany in 1880 and studied science and engineering before fully devoting himself to art. Hofmann attended art school in Munich in 1898, studying Pointillism and Impressionist painting, and then moved to Paris, where he lived for the next tenyears. In Paris, Hofmann befriended Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, and Robert Delaunay, developing a distinctive style of Cubist painting he called Orphism. Hofmann stayed in Munich during World War I as he was prohibited from living in Paris as a German citizen. He opened the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts during the war years, instructing artistsĀ  including Louise Nevelson and Alfred Jensen. Hofmann later taught courses at the University of California-Berkeley during the 1930s, and then opened a second Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in New York, as well as summer sessions of classes in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Hofmann instructed his students in color theory and composition, drawing inspiration from the natural world, and became renowned for his enthusiastic, attentive teaching methods. By the 1940s and 1950s, he was as well known for his painting as for his teaching and gained recognition as a leading member of the Abstract Expressionist movement. His works are in the collections of Metropolitan, Tate Modern, Whitney, MoMA, and Smithsonian.