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Hans Hofmann in 1950. Photograph by Rudolph Burckhardt © 2023 Estate of Rudy Burckhardt / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Hans Hofmann (b. 1880 in Weissenburg, Bavaria, Germany) began his arts education in Munich, later moving to Paris in 1904. During his time in Paris, Hofmann frequented the Café du Dome where he met the many artists, dealers, and intellectuals who gathered there. In 1914, Hofmann returned to Germany and, in 1915, opened his own art school in Munich, the Schule für Bildene Kunst. In 1930, Hofmann traveled to the United States to teach a summer session at the University of California, Berkeley. After returning to Munich for the winter, Hofmann returned to California to teach at the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles, and again at Berkeley, until 1932. Due to the growing hostility towards intellectuals in Germany, Hofmann made the decision to stay in America and relocate to New York in 1932. While in New York, he assumed a teaching position at The Arts Students League before opening the eponymous Hand Hofmann School of Fine Arts in 1933. In 1935, Hofmann’s School additionally began to hold summer classes in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Hofmann became well known not only as an important artist of the time but also as an admired teacher—Helen Frankenthaler, Allan Kaprow, Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson, Joan Mitchell, and Wolf Kahn were amongst his students. 1944 was a significant year for Hofmann as he was featured in four group exhibitions and notably had his first solo exhibition in New York at Peggy Guggenheim’s renowned Art of This Century Gallery.

During his lifetime, Hofmann’s work was exhibited at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA (1931);  the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA (1941); The Art of This Century Gallery, New York, NY (1944); The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL (1944); Milwaukee Art Institute, Milwaukee, WI (1944); 67 Gallery, New York, NY (1944); Mortimer Grant Gallery, New York, NY (1944); The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (1945); Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, NY (1947); Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX (1947); Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (1947);  Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA (1948); Galerie Maeght, Paris, France (1949); Gallery 200, Provincetown, MA (1949); Studio 35, New York, NY (1950); Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD (1954); Bennington College, Bennington, VT (1955); Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA (1956); Venice Biennale, XXIV Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d’Arte Venezia, Venice, Italy (1960); Fränkische Galerie am Marientor, Nuremberg, Germany (1962); The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (1963).

His work is included in select collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; Fundación Juan March, Madrid, Spain; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH; Kunsthaus Hamburg, Germany; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada; Musée de Grenoble, Grenoble, France; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany; Tate Collection, London, United Kingdom; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

Hofmann died at age 88 on 17 February, 1966 in New York, NY.

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