The Influence of Hans Hofmann


The Influence of Hans Hofmann

About Hans Hofmann

Hans Hofmann was an artist known for his colorful paintings. He explored pictorial structures, chromatic relationships, and spatial illusion to create the perception of depth and motion on a flat surface. Although Hans Hofmann did not come to the United States until he was over fifty, he is considered to be an American painter and an important figure in Abstract Expressionism.

As a teacher he brought direct knowledge of European modernism to the United States and developed his own philosophy of art that included his push pull theory. Many of Hofmann’s students went on to achieve success in their own right. He influenced the development of many mid 20th century abstract painters.


Hans Hofmann and AAA

He never became a member of American Abstract Artists, but Hans Hofmann did have an ongoing influence on many original founding and later members of the group. He sent a letter of support to AAA when the organization was formally established. Hans Hofmann also participated in a symposium and delivered an address at the American Abstract Artists 5th Annual Exhibition at the Riverside Museum in 1941.

Original founding members of AAA who studied with Hofmann include Rosalind Bengelsdorf, Georgio Cavallon, Burgoyne Diller, Carl Holty, Harry Holtzman, Ray Kaiser (later Ray Eames), Mercedes Matter (formerly Jeanne Carles), George McNeil, Esphyr Slobodkina, Albert Swinden, Vaclav Vytlacil, Wilfred Zogbaum,[1] [2] and Harry Bowden.

Later AAA members who studied with Hofmann include Lee Krasner, Irene Rice Pereira,[3] Maurice Berezov, Nell Blaine, Fritz Bultman, Perle Fine, Robert Goodnough, Israel Levitan, Michael Loew, Louise Nevelson, Judith Rothschild, and Ward Jackson.


  1. Knott, Robert. “Defenders of Abstraction.” American Abstract Art of the 1930s and 1940s: The J. Donald Nichols collection. Harry N Abrams, Inc.: New York. 1998. p. 15.
  2. Goodman, Cynthia. Hans Hofmann. Prestel: Munich. 1990. p. 187.
  3. Goodman. Krasner listed inside the book cover, Pereira on p. 187.