Hans Hofmann, Fruit Bowl Version 6, 1950, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (collection Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, gift of Roy R. Neuberger / Photo: Jim Frank)
Another entry in the seminal Paints a Picture series: Elaine de Kooning provides a first hand account of Hans Hofmann's process and approach to painting.
In a richly detailed narration, De Kooning records Hofmann's technical studio practice punctuated by his comments on painting: "Hofmann has evolved no rules for the making of a picture. On the contrary, always on guard against intellectualism and virtuosity, he says: 'At the time of making a picture, I want not to know what I’m doing; a picture should be made with feeling, not with knowing. The possibilities of the medium must be sensed. Anything can serve as a medium—kerosene, benzine, turpentine, linseed oil, beeswax…even beer,' he adds jokingly. ...'Painting, to me means forming with color,' Hofmann states. His first stroke of color is very important since it may be visible in the final version of the picture, and so, for Fruit Bowl, No. 1, Hofmann spent considerable time studying the still-life before picking up his brush... 'A work of art is finished from the point of view of the artist,' says Hofmann, 'when feeling and perception have resulted in a spiritual synthesis.' "
Halasz notes "two surprises in the current selection, two aspects of Hofmann's art that I'd never fully appreciated before. The first was his use of thin, straight lines... The second thing I'd never responded to before was Hofmann’s powerful command of blacks. One knows all about his bright colors, but his blacks can have just as much – if not more – energy. Given the chance, in fact, they can almost explode."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.