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Hans Hofmann Portrait

Hans Hofmann Portrait Hans Hofmann Portrait

Hans Hofmann

Also Known as: Johann Georg Albert Hofmann

Weissenberg, Germany 1880

New York, New York 1966

Active in:

  • Paris, France
  • Provincetown, Massachusetts
  • Munich, Germany

Photo Caption:
Hans Hofmann, Gloucester, Massachusetts, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001704

Photo Caption:
Hans Hofmann with his class at the Hawthorne Studio, Provincetown, Massachusetts, ca. 1935, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0120468

Photo Caption:
Courtesy Photographs of Artists Collection I, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Quote

"In me there develops a real relationship to my paintings, and this is mostly a poetic relationship because what my paintings say is poetry. This is poetry expressed in color."

Hofmann, 1966, interview by Irma Jaffe, Archives of American Art, quoted in Yohe, ed., Hans Hofmann, 2002


Painter. A German American, Hofmann was a leading Abstract Expressionist painter and was considered to be one of the greatest twentieth century teachers. He directed his own school in Munich and taught at both the University of California at Berkeley and his own school in New York. Hofmann's talent was recognized in retrospectives at the Baltimore Museum of Art (1954), the Whitney Museum of Art (1957), and the Museum of Modern Art (1963).

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Considered a master and forefather of abstract expressionism, Hans Hofmann grew up in Germany and as a young man worked for the Bavarian state. He decided to study art, however, and spent ten years in Paris, befriending such European modernists as Pablo Picasso and Robert Delaunay. When World War I broke out, he was unable to enlist because of a weak lung and decided to teach instead, opening the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in Munich. In the early 1930s he moved the school to New York and taught summer classes in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where his teaching would influence a generation of American artists. Hofmann continued to paint while he taught, creating vibrant, abstract images that explored “color, light and form in the rhythm of life.” One of his students, Frank Stella, believed that Hofmann was “the greatest art teacher of the century.” (Stella, “Art of the Century,” quoted in Yohe, ed., Hans Hofmann, 2002)