Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction offers a fresh and revealing assessment of the artist’s prolific and innovative painterly career. The comprehensive exhibition and accompanying catalogue will feature approximately seventy paintings and works on paper by Hofmann from 1930 through the end of his life in 1966, including works from public and private collections across North America and Europe. Curator Lucinda Barnes builds on new scholarship published over the past ten years and the 2014 catalogue raisonné to present Hofmann as a unique synthesis of student, artist, teacher, and mentor who transcended generations and continents. His singular artistic achievement drew on artistic influences and innovations that spanned two world wars and transatlantic avant-gardes. Over the last fifty years Hofmann has come to be understood primarily from the vantage of his late color-plane abstractions. Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction expands our understanding and reinvigorates our appreciation of Hofmann through an inclusive presentation of his artistic arc, showing the vibrant interconnectedness and continuity in his work of European and American influences from the early twentieth century through the advent of abstract expressionism.
Published in association with the Berkeley Museum of Art Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).
Berkeley Museum of Art Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA): February 27–July 21, 2019
The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA: September 21, 2019–January 6, 2020
About the Author
Lucinda Barnes serves as Curator Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, after many years as Chief Curator and Director of Programs and Collections. At BAMPFA Barnes has curated and co-curated more than forty exhibitions, including Measure of Time (2006), Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet (2009), American Wonder: Folk Art from the Collection (2014), and Creation in Form and Color: Hans Hofmann (European tour, 2016–17). Prior to coming to Berkeley, Barnes was executive director of the Boise Art Museum, Idaho. She also has held senior curatorial posts at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, and the Newport Harbor Art Museum (now the Orange County Museum of Art).
Ellen G. Landau is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emerita in the Humanities, Department of Art History and Art, at Case Western Reserve University. She is the author of Jackson Pollock; Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonné; Reading Abstract Expressionism: Context and Critique; and Mexico and American Modernism, supported by NEH and Terra Foundation grants. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships and awards, including the Cleveland Arts Prize for Jackson Pollock. She has co-curated a joint retrospective of Pollock and Krasner (Kunstmuseum Bern, 1989) and guest-curated Pollock Matters (McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, 2010), both of which traveled. Landau has also published numerous essays.
Michael Schreyach is Associate Professor of Art History at Trinity University in San Antonio and has held a Terra Foundation Visiting Professorship at the JFK Institute for North American Studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin. He is the author of Pollock's Modernism.