Ameringer Mcenery Yohe is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Hans Hofmann, which will open on 5 December 2013 and remain on view through 25 January 2014. A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Cynthia Goodman accompanies the exhibition. Goodman curated the 1990 “Hans Hofmann: Retrospective Exhibition” at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Hans Hofmann’s first solo exhibition in New York was held at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery in 1944. Exuberant and powerful, the exhibited works showcased the breadth of his abilities from his manipulation of visual space to the emotive qualities of form and color in his pictorial compositions. As Cynthia Goodman notes in her essay for the current exhibition, this body of paintings and drawings, some originally seen in Guggenheim’s gallery, was significant because “it provided the first opportuinty for the New York art world to see his work” and firmly established Hofmann as “part of the critical dialogue but also an inextricable presence in the development of the then-nascent New York school of painting.”
In the studio, Elaine de Kooning remembers that he never sat down; he was constantly in motion, moving between his palette and his easel, applying paint in broad, lunging gestures. Hofmann often completed paintings in a single session. He believed “a work of art is finished from the point of view of the artist, when feeling and perception have resulted in a spiritual synthesis.”
The 1940s were not only significant for Hofmann, but also for the entire group of artists in New York at this time who came to be known as the Abstract Expressionists.
Unlike his American counterparts, Hofmann spent formative years in Paris, absorbing a variety of artistic traditions, including the inception of Fauvism, Cubism, and the artistic practices of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso; he was exposed to European modernism at its source. The work of Hofmann’s first New York solo exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery reflects the range of his influences and how divergent his many styles were at any one point in his artistic career.
Hans Hofmann was born in Weissenburg in Bavaria, Germany, in 1880. He studied art in Paris, where he lived from 1904 to 1914. He returned to Germany in 1914, and in 1915, he opened an art school in Munich. In 1930, Hofmann traveled to the United States, and from 1930 to 1932, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles. In 1932, Hofmann moved to New York. He taught at the Art Students League before opening the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in 1933.
During his lifetime, Hofmann’s work was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; and the Santa Barbara Museum of Modern Art, Santa Barbara, CA. Hofmann was also selected, along with Philip Guston, Franz Kline, and Theodore Roszac, for the XXX Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.
Hofmann’s work may be found in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; among others.
Hofmann died in 1966 in New York at the age of 86.