Hans Hofmann

Artist Biography

A distinguished figure in post-war American art, Hans Hofmann was also a celebrated teacher and played a pivotal role in the development of Abstract Expressionism. Hofmann’s career began in his native Germany. His schooling brought him to Munich and then to Paris, before he emigrated to New York City in 1933. For the following four decades, Hofmann split his time between New York and Provincetown, MA.

During his lifetime, Hofmann’s career as an artist and teacher brought him into contact with many prominent artists and collectors, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Wassily Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Betty Parsons, Peggy Guggenheim, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, and many others. Originally working in a figurative mode, Hofmann eventually developed a style that interwove Cubist forms with the vibrant color palette of Fauvism. Largely influenced by Matisse, Hofmann developed an approach and theory he called “push and pull,” involving interdependent relationships between form, color, and space. In 1956, Hofmann decided to close his school in New York to focus on his own painting. He continued to produce bold and experimental works transcendent of genre and style until his death in 1966. With work in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Tate Modern, and many others, Hofmann’s work continues to influence artists today.

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