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Artist: Hans Hofmann
Hans Hofmann's artistic career wove its way through Germany, Paris and New York. He was involved with major artists of the 20th century --from Picasso, Matisse, Braque and the German Expressionists in Europe -- to Pollock, Gorky and deKooning in New York. Through teaching and painting, Hofmann provided a primary link between European and North American aesthetic development.
In 1932, as a mature painter, Hans Hofmann left Europe and ultimately settled in New York. There, he exposed American artists to the principles of cubist structure and Matisse-like color. He championed the strong color and form relationships that were to become dominant during the 1950'S and 60's.
Hofmann, himself, painted with amazing virtuosity and stood in the forefront of artistic developments. He was among the first to use strongly keyed colors to determine the structure of a painting. Hofmann believed that a painting could deal with recognizable images or with abstract forms. However, he felt strongly that if an artist became preoccupied with three-dimensionality, he was likely to produce a merely decorative work. The key to artistic integrity, according to Hofmann, is a dynamic "push-pull" effect -- a simultaneous flatness and depth achieved through advancing and receding color shapes.