Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction
University of California Press
If you like art but have not come across the oeuvre of Hans Hofmann, I pity you.
Prolific in nature, his body of work comprises seven decades and a consistent output of innovative pieces, be it simple based ones to his explorations of colourful expressionist approaches, which questioned concepts of form, space and what was considered art in general during his era.
Abstract art might not be everyone’s cup of hot beverage, yet I find Hofmann to be one of the more accessible representatives of the genre and having been friends with the likes of Matisse and Picasso certainly left an indelible mark of his style, which culminated not only in the appreciation but the actual incorporation of cubism, surrealist elements and fauvism into his paintings.
To describe Hofmann’s emissions as “vibrant” would be an understatement par excellence and his willingness to never stop experimenting infused his practice with a “push and pull” energy, often sourced from the discrepancy between contraction and expansion, that is infectious.
Hans Hofmann is not as difficult to grasp as he was made out to be during his heyday and this tome is testament to the merits of his distinct style and a retrospective that will certainly find new aficionados that so far have not been exposed to his output.
A book that illustrates the arc of the continuity of his career influenced in equal measures by influences of the old and the new worlds, and one that you want to have on your shelf as it covers an essential artist of the twentieth century who worked in the advent of conceptual art, and one that was inspired by the best but refrained from mere imitation.