b. Jamaica, NY 1938
The High School of Music and Art, New York, NY 1952-56
Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 1955
Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste, Nuremberg, Germany 1958-62
C. W. Post College, L.I. University, Instructor and Artist in Residence, 1963-66
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, Instructor, 1967-68
Yale University Summer School, Norfolk, CT, Instructor,1969
Hunter College, NY, Instruct. & Asst. Prof. 1967-84, Assoc. Prof. 1987-97, Prof. 1997-2002
Since finding my footing in painting in the 1960’s, I’ve sought a way of working
that respects, and ultimately finds its origins in, emotions. Ironically, my training,
and my innate sense of balance, have so subtly influenced me that I’ve found
being true to my feelings much more challenging than it would seem, so I cannot
say that I have been successful with this. All too often self-criticism, the desire for
acceptance, the abhorrence of disharmony have all undermined the best of my
In practice, working this way often starts with a choice of color: this can be
impulse, or an instinct, or the source could be a dream, or a longing.
In reality, all work starts earlier, with a choice of materials: here too, feelings play
a decisive role, in the choice of the surface, the medium, the size and format, etc.
All these emotional inputs are extremely determining – which show up most
when disregarded, and, I believe, are most keenly sensed in the frustration with
any work that falls short.
Ideas can actually be emotive too: an idea conceived out of feeling and executed
in a feeling way can be a powerful conveyer of emotion. I think Matisse, at the
very beginning and especially at the end, is a perfect example. His ideas are
emotionally conceived, and his work is painted and drawn and cut with feeling.
Art that is ideological is basically emotional; the problem is often that artists not
in touch with their feelings, and critics and curators who do not let their senses
work make choices that do not resonate emotionally.
I believe that great art wants to change - art that is based on refinement is
significant (see Velasquez) if it is based in true feeling. Truth seeking is the key,
ambition helps (see Caravaggio): if it is based in true feeling it has power, if not, it
is empty and unrewarding.
As an artist, I’ve often misunderstood what I’ve done, or not understood it until
later. Hopefully, history will help to sort this out. Now, towards the end of my
working life, I know that I know more, but, at the moment of making something
new, it is all a mystery still.
Color Field and gestural paintings by New York artist George Hofmann. Creating abstract paintings for over 6 decades, Hofmann explores color and form using a variety of staining, brushing, and layering techniques with saturated and dilute glazes of acrylic paint. His preferred supports are canvas, linen and paper. However, recently, Hofmann has been working on smooth wood panels that reveal the grain so that he can build and excavate the paint to fragment his compositions on a natural surface, making them more reductive and a different viewing experience. Most of Hofmann’s paintings are rooted in nature and personal experience. He is passionate about art history and writes thoughtful and challenging essays on contemporary painting. Hofmann taught at Pratt Institute and Yale University in the 1960s and then at Hunter College in New York from 1967 through 2002 when he retired.