BASTIAN is pleased to present works from the German-born American artist Hans Hofmann (1880 – 1966), shown in the UK for the first time. Focusing on paintings produced at the end of the Second World War and immediately afterwards - a period which saw Hofmann’s style develop into the abstract, in response to the challenges of the era - the exhibition pays homage to a pivotal time in the artist’s career. Hofmann’s angular abstractions, such as Fury No. 1 (1945), personify the insecurities of the period; but in parallel Hofmann also moved towards soft ambiguous forms and gesture which would become the hallmark of the Abstract Expressionist movement.
Renowned as both an artist and teacher, Hofmann established his first art school in Munich in 1915. Built on the contemporary ideas regarding colour and form of Cézanne, the Cubists and Kandinsky, his work laid the foundations for his reputation as a forward-thinking artist. After relocating to the United States in 1932, he then opened schools in both New York and Provincetown, immersing himself within America’s growing avantgarde art scene. His teaching had a significant influence on post-war American artists, including Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner and Joan Mitchell – artists who would later lead the Abstract Expressionism movement.
At BASTIAN, the works on show span from 1942 – 1946. Whilst demonstrating Hofmann’s development towards abstraction, the paintings still reveal an identifiably representational quality which nod to his figurative beginnings; linear paintings such as The Virgin (1946) particularly emphasise this artistic trajectory. Primarily known for his expressive use of bold, often primary colours, the palette used in his paintings at BASTIAN consists predominantly of vivid, bright colours and contrasting dark tones, epitomising the conflicted post-war feeling.
Hofmann’s work during the 1940s also saw him garner the support of several key figures in the artistic scene, including the renowned gallerists and dealers Peggy Guggenheim, Betty Parsons, and Samuel M. Kootz. A particularly important moment in his career – aged 64 at the time – was his first solo exhibition in New York in 1944 at Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery Art of This Century, considered ‘a breakthrough in painterly versus geometric abstraction that heralded abstract expressionism’ by the influential art critic Clement Greenberg.
Founded in 1989 by Céline and Heiner Bastian, the gallery is dedicated to representing and exhibiting modern and contemporary art. Under the direction of second-generation Aeneas Bastian since 2016, the London gallery space opened in February 2019. BASTIAN’s core exhibition programme includes 20th century artists such as Pablo Picasso and Jean Dubuffet, as well as German and American post-war artists including Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. As well as publishing exhibition catalogues, artist monographs and catalogues raisonnés, BASTIAN participates at international art fairs including Art Berlin, Art Düsseldorf, Art Cologne, Dallas Art Fair and Taipei Dangdai.
Notes to editors
Title: Hans Hofmann - Fury: Painting after the War
Location: 8 Davies Street, London W1K 3DW
Dates: 21 February – 23 May 2020
Exhibition Opening: 6-8pm, 20 February 2020
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm
For media and image enquiries
Milly Carter Hepplewhite or Lisa Hopf at Pelham Communications
+44 20 3958 5750
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