HANS HOFMANN: Landscapes and Interiors, 1930's and 1940's.
17 January -18 February 2017
Please stop by for cocktails on January 19th from 6-8pm
Hans Hofmann began painting in Paris, where he worked alongside such titans of European Modernism as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and Henri Matisse. His best-known early paintings combine Cubist structure with Fauvist color, as in Untitled (1943). Although he would eventually be considered one of the preeminent Abstract Expressionists, having relocated to New York in 1932, Hofmann’s primary interest was in pictorial phenomena: the illusion of three-dimensional space, composition, and the optical effects of color. “It is not the form that dictates color, but the color that brings out the form,” he once said. In the 1950s, Hofmann made his most famous series of paintings, in which he explored the relativity of color, developing his “push-pull” theory and technique by which warm and cool colors interact to produce effects of movement, space, and depth. Perhaps even more influential as a teacher than as an artist, Hofmann counted Helen Frankenthaler, Alfred Jensen, Joan Mitchell, Wolf Kahn, Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson, and Frank Stella among his many students.
German-American, 1880–1966, Weissenberg, Germany, based in Munich, Germany, New York, and Provincetown, Massachusetts
A second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler became active in the New York School of the 1950s, initially influenced by artists like Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. She gained fame with her invention of the color-stain technique—applying thin washes of paint to unprimed canvas—in her iconic Mountains and Sea (1952), a motivating work for Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and other Color Field painters who emerged in the ’60s. Her own canvases, however, often evoked elements of landscape or figuration in the shaping of their forms. “My pictures are full of climates, abstract climates,” she once said. “They're not nature per se, but a feeling.” From 1958 to 1971, she was married to fellow Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell, who, like Frankenthaler, worked in symbolic painted gestures—only her paintings were almost always visibly improvised from start to finish. As poet and critic Frank O’Hara wrote in 1960, “she is willing to risk everything on inspiration.” In addition to painting, Frankenthaler also made ceramics, welded steel sculptures, and set designs, but the related medium that most attracted her, and in which her achievement came the closest painting, was printmaking—especially the creation of woodcuts, hers counting among the greatest of contemporary works in that medium.
American, 1928–2011, New York, New York, based in New York and Darien, Connecticut