Media - 1986.92.58 - SAAM-1986.92.58_1 - 10230
Copied Hans Hofmann, Afterglow, 1938, oil on fiberboard, 3036 in. (76.291.5 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost, 1986.92.58

Artwork Details

3036 in. (76.291.5 cm.)
back upper right: hans hofmann board verso lower right: circular postmark (illegible) stretcher upper left in black: 11022
Credit Line
Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost
Mediums Description
oil on fiberboard
  • Nonrepresentational
  • Abstract
Object Number

Artwork Description

Hofmann painted the lyrical semi-abstraction called Afterglow during the summer of 1938 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Buildings and trees emerge from a welter of seemingly random lines and abbreviated marks to resolve into a high-keyed landscape. Recognizable as a physical location with a yellow sky, blotches of blue water, and an open central field surrounded by strokes of brown fencing, it reflects Hofmann’s belief that a painting is a self-contained universe in which active and dynamic forces are in equilibrium.

Modern Masters: Midcentury Abstraction from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2008
Luce Center Label

The vibrant tones of yellow, red, and green in Afterglow resemble many of Hans Hofmann's early paintings of the landscape around Provincetown, Massachusetts. He opened his summer school there in 1934 and encouraged his students to paint images inspired by the area's colorful, light-filled beaches. Here, Hofmann used primary colors and dramatic dashes of paint to express the "spirit" of the coastal landscape at sunset. He described painting as magic, because the shapes and colors on the canvas were transformed into a "universe in action." (Hofmann, "The Search for the Real in the Visual Arts," quoted in Yohe, ed., Hans Hofmann, 2002)