Hans Hofmann was a major force in mid-century American abstraction, ushering in a new emphasis on relationships between form, color, and space. 

Hans Hofmann: Works on Paper offers a rare chance to chart the career of one of America’s foremost artists through his works on paper. From early landscape studies of Europe to late-career abstractions, Hofmann used pen, ink, gouache, crayon, and watercolor to fashion self-portraits, figure studies, and purely geometric compositions. Hans Hofmann: Works on Paper offers a new and intimate look at the creative evolution of this master of American modernism.


Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) is deservedly acclaimed as both a giant of post-war 20th century abstraction and one of the most influential teachers of the modern era. Yet depsite the esteem in which Hofmann is held and the increasing attention being paid to his achievement, one aspect of his work remains little known: his works on paper. The omission is particularly surprising, since working on paper was integral to both Hofmann's practice and to his evolution.

This survey of Hofmann’s works on paper will provide a particularly accurate and comprehensive portrait of this protean, hard-to-classify artist by including examples of all his approaches, from throughout his long career. Self-portraits, figures, interiors, landscapes, and full-blown abstractions on paper cumulatively bear witness to Hofmann’s entire evolution, from a particularly intimate point of view. Because of this intimacy—a factor of both the modest size of the paper works and their directness—the opportunity to see a wide range of Hofmann’s works on paper, from rapid sketches to very complete “paintings,” offers special insight into his methods and thought processes. Focusing attention on this little-known aspect of Hofmann’s art will enlarge the understanding of audiences already familiar with his paintings and, for those encountering his work for the first time, provide a valuable, accessible introduction to an important, original, and influential artist.