Hans Hofmann (German, 1880–1966) was a renowned painter and famous teacher of many prominent American artists. Hoffman was born in Bavaria, and studied science and engineering before fully devoting himself to art. He attended art school in Munich in 1898, studying Pointillism and Impressionist painting, and then moved to Paris, where he lived for the next 10 years. In Paris, Hofmann befriended Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954), Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963), and Robert Delaunay (French, 1885–1941), developing a distinctive style of Cubist painting he called Orphism. Hofmann stayed in Munich during World War I, as he was prohibited from living in Paris as a German citizen. He opened the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts during the war years, instructing artists including Louise Nevelson (American, 1899–1988) and Alfred Jensen (American, 1903–1981). Hofmann later taught courses at the University of California-Berkeley during the 1930s, and then opened a second Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in New York, as well as summer sessions of classes in Provincetown, Massachusetts. As the Nazi regime in Germany grew increasingly oppressive throughout the 1930s, Hofmann was advised not to return to Europe, and he instead divided his time between the coasts of the United States. Inspired by the American landscape, he resumed painting. Hofmann instructed his students in color theory, composition, and drawing inspiration from the natural world, and became renowned for his enthusiastic, attentive teaching methods. By the 1940s and 1950s, he was as well known for his painting as for his teaching, and gained recognition as a leading member of the Abstract Expressionist movement; in 1960 Hofmann’s paintings were exhibited at the Venice Biennale. His work has been the subject of several retrospectives, including exhibitions held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. He died in 1966, at 78 years old.

Timeline

1880
Born March 21 in Weissenberg, Germany
1896–1898
Studied under Willi Schwarz at Moritz Heymann's Art School, Munich
1904–1906
attended evening classes at the Atelier Colarossi and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris
1903–1914
Lived in Paris, France
1915
Opened first art school, Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, Munich
1923
Married Maria Wolfegg
1930
Taught at the University of California, Berkeley, CA (summer)
1931
Taught at the Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA
1915–1932
Founder-teacher of arts school, Schule für Moderne Kunst, Munich
1932–1933
Taught at the Arts Students League, New York, NY
1933
Founded the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, 137 East 57th Street, New York, NY
1933
Taught at the Thurn School of Art, Cloucester, MA
1936–1938
Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts at 52 West 9th Street, New York, NY
1941
Became an American citizen
1958
Stopped teaching
1964
Married Renate Schmidt
1966
Died February 17 in New York, NY

Exhibitions

2010
Le Grand Geste, Sammlung Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, Germany
2009
1945-1949 Repartir à zéro, comme si la peinture n’avait jamais existé, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon
2008–2009
Peggy Guggenheim e la nuova pittura Americana, ARCA, Ex-Chiesa di San Marco, Vercelli, Italy
2008
Hans Hofmann, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive BAM/PFA, Berkeley, CA (solo)
"Hans Hoffmann: Poems & Paintings on Paper," Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York City, NY (solo)
2007
Contemporary, Cool and Collected, Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
"Everything," Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas, TX
"Options with Realism," Jason McCoy Gallery, New York, NY
2006
Hans Hofmann, American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich (solo)
"Hans Hofmann," Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York City, NY (solo)
2006
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Fifty Years of American Art, Grimaldi Forum Monaco, with Otto Hübner as curator for the Abstract Expressionism
2005–2006
Ecole de New York, MAMAC Nice, France
2005
Hans Hofmann, Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York City, NY (solo)
2004–2005
Action Painting-Arte Americana 1940-1970, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, Modena, Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venedig in cooperation with american contemporary art GALLERY
2004
Hans Hofmann, American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich (solo)
"Hans Hofmann: Selections from the Berkeley Art Museum Collection" Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA (solo)
"Hans Hofmann: Scintillating Spaces," Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive BAM/PFA, Berkeley, CA (solo)
2003
Hans Hofmann, Hackett Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2002
Hans Hofmann, American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich (solo)
"Hans Hofmann," Hackett Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2001
Hans Hofmann: Real/Life, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive BAM/PFA, Berkeley, CA (solo)
2000
Hans Hoffman, American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich (solo)
2000
Conrad Marca-Relli, Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, Germany
1999
The American Years Retrospective, Residenz Galerie Salzburg," Salzburg, Austria (solo)
1997
Hans Hofmann: Wunder des Rhythmus, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany, traveling to the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
1994
New York-Provincetown: A 50s Connection, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA
1988–1991
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1990
Hons Hofmann, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (solo)
1988
Tate Gallery, London (solo)
1987
University of Califnonia, Berkeley, CA (solo)
1982–1986
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1984
American Masters, Vatican Museums and International Exhibitons Foundation, Rome, Italy
1980
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (solo)
Provincetown Art Association, Provincetown, MA (solo)
1972–1980
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1979
hans Hofmann as a Teacher, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (solo)
1974
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (solo)
1973
Hans Hofmann: 52 Works on Paper, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (solo)
1972
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (solo)
1967–1969
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1966
Two Decades of American Painting, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
The Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1963–1965
Hans Hofmann, traveling exhibition in 12 museums in the USA and in Europe
1964
Guggenheim International Award, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
1960–1964
The Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1963
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA (solo)
1960
Stati Uniti d‘America - Quattro Artisti Americani: Guston, Hofmann, Kline, Roszak, XXXVenice Biennale Venice, Italy
1960
Neue Malerei: Form, Struktur, Bedeutung, Städtische Galerie, Munich, Germany
1958
The Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1957
The Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (retrospective)
1956
The Embellished Surface, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
The Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
1950–1955
The Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1954
Boris Mirski Gallery, Boston, MA (solo)
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD (solo)
1951
"Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America" The Museum of Modern Art, NYC
1950
Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
1949
The Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
"Hofmann in Paris," Gallerie Maeght, Paris, France (solo)
1947
Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
The Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1946
Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1944
First Exhibition: Hans Hofmann, Art of this Century Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo)
1910
Paul Cassirer Gallery, Berlin, Germany (first solo exhibition)