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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hans Hofmann's Role in Abstract Expressionism

Hans Hofmann did much to progress the arts in the United States, teaching generations of American artists and heavily aiding in the development of Abstract Expressionism. A transplant from his native Germany, Hofmann traveled to the United States as a mature artist and brought with him a deep understanding of the European Avant-Garde that he mixed with artistic endeavors of the Post-Second World War era to create a distinctly American brand of visual artistic expression.

Hans Hofmann was born in Bavaria in 1880 and raised and educated in Munich. While he initially studied science and mathematics, Hofmann felt a calling to the arts and moved to Paris in 1904, taking art classes at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in the same class as Henri Matisse. This Parisian atmosphere of intense creation greatly influenced his later work, having been exposed to the great innovators of the era such as Picasso, Braque and Matisse. Fortunately missing conscription into the Great War because of an illness, Hofmann began teaching art in Munich, drawing an international reputation of high esteem because of his vast knowledge of Avant-Garde theory and composition.

Traveling to the United States to teach art at UC Berkeley in 1930 and settled permanently in the US after the Nazi party swallowed up Germany in 1933. Settling in New York, the already internationally known artist began to teach at his own school, having already had a number of solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States. While in New York Hofmann encountered the great American painters of the day, including Jackson Pollock who he met in 1942. Despite of an initial dislike for the artist, they became close and influenced each other’s work greatly.

During the mid to late 1940’s Hofmann discovered the style he is now most famous for, namely bold blocks of color abstractly composed in a usually rectangular form. These blocks, composed of brilliant fauvist color, express the artist’s “rigorous concern with pictorial structure, spatial illusion and color relationships” (Goodman). His paintings are internationally coveted and are contained within the world’s great collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Met, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. has had the good fortune of appraising pieces by Hofmann (above) and his contemporaries. As a research-oriented appraisal office, MIR is staffed with appraisers and researchers with a wide array of specialties and are as competent appraising an Abstract Expressionist oil painting as they are a portrait miniature or a diamond ring. We welcome you to explore our website and encourage you to call us with any questions you may have about our services. We are located on Chicago's Michigan Avenue, and we encourage you to schedule an appointment to visit our office and appraisal staff.

Researched and written by Justin Bergquist

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.
Principal Appraiser: Farhad Radfar, ISA AM
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 814-8510

Works Cited:
Goodman, Cynthia. “Hans Hofmann” on Oxford Art Online.

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    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.