Hofmann – (Parallels)

Hans Hofmann - The Artist Version - 1942 - 42 x 39 in - oil on canvas

This painting is a great example of flattening combined with a sense of perspective.  The depth is provided by the oblique lines which do not  lead to a vanishing point.  This is very important because the vanishing point freezes the viewer and Hofmann avoids this with the parallel lines of the table top and the rung in the chair.  We see parallels in the blue area connecting the chair and a line in the rectangle shape in front of the table.  The blue area can read as another table, or a carpet?  What wonderful play!  He has painted a sense of space in which we can wonder.

I love the transparency of things like reading the chair leg through the top of the container and the table through the package or paintings in front.  We also see this in the vase and cups. His sophisticated colours are wonderful and I hope you can feel how their flatness emphasizes the shapes.  He knows the viewer will mentaly supply the space or depth.


Influences – (Matisse on Hofmann)

Hans Hofmann - Pink Table with Still Life and Palette - 1936 - 132 x 96 cm - oil on panel

As in my post of September 1st. on Cezanne influencing Matisse, we see the influence on Hofmann.  We should be aware of and participate in the continuity of art, which opens doors for new considerations for those who follow.

Hofmann has used the tilting up of the table top very interestingly by adding another bold  consideration, the rhythmic shape at the bottom left of the table top, which seems to be both on and in front of the table.  This is a wonderful spatial plane, and he integrated it beautifully with a vertical just below at the right of the shape, and upwards with the curve of the table top.  Another spatial plane on the table top, the pink rectangle at the bottom which seems to come forth, very impressive!  There are some planes in the red just below the table top at the right as well.  Can you feel their connection with the table?  The combination of his free gestural stokes with his structural considerations are very impressive and I love the transparency of the green vase at the right.

Hofmann was a very knowledgeable painter and a superb teacher, who was influential in the development of the Abstract Impressionist movement in New York, which was wonderfully convoluted in the 30’s.

I will be posting more on Hofmann’s development of spatial planes with colour.