Hans Hofmann (American, born Germany, 1880-1966),
oil on canvas, 14 x 18 in.; 35.56 x 45.72 cm
Gift of Milton Wolsky, 1967.101
After World War II, an extraordinary group of painters, now known as the Abstract Expressionists, advanced an approach to painting so radical and different from earlier schools that New York City became the international center of art, a position Paris had held for more than two centuries. Hofmann was part of this American vanguard, whose aim was to eliminate recognizable or naturalistic representation in favor of a new, universal visual language. Their non-objective approach to image-making emphasized the individual artist’s personal response to the current moment, as well as to the act of painting itself.
Hofmann, unlike many of the other Abstract Expressionists, veers away from mining the subconscious self, and instead embraced a lively style that was less psychologically intense. One of the first artists to drip and spatter paint, Hofmann juxtaposed contrasting hues and thickly textured paint, resulting in a vibrant interplay between pictoral depth of field and the flat surface of the canvas. For Morning, rather than mixing his paints on a palette before applying them with a brush, Hoffman blended colors directly on the canvas using a palette knife to scrape the paint.