SEARCH FOR THE REAL: Drawings by Hans Hofmann and his Students


PAAM 2009 exhibition catalogue

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Hans Hofmann taught that abstract art evolved from nature and was an important conduit of European modernist ideas for American artists. He was one of the most influential of the émigré artists to arrive in the United States in the 1930s and 40s, during the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and the early years of the war. Known for his school in Munich, Hofmann was invited to teach summer school at the University of California at Berkeley in 1930 and again in 1931. In 1932 he moved to New York City and taught at the Art Students League.

By autumn 1933, Hofmann had opened his own school on Madison Avenue, the Hans Hofmann School of  Fine Arts. The next year he moved his school to East 57th Street and then to  Greenwich Village in 1936. Hofmann also extended his program with summer sessions in Provincetown, beginning in 1935.

Famous for  his discussions of composition, Hofmann is best known for his theory of “push and pull,” which he considered essential to defining the picture space. Some of the drawings in the exhibition are marked with Hofmann’s corrections, illustrating his teaching principles and style.

Search for the Real: Drawings by Hans Hofmann and His Students highlights the work of a famous artist and demonstrates how his ideas influenced the history and development of modern art in the United States. Organized by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum by curators Donald Beal and Christine McCarthy.