Messing with a Hans Hofmann

Perhaps this is just for a chuckle, but what do you think this means?

I dreamed last night that I was still working as a curator and pulled out this Hans Hofmann work on paper that we had in the vault. Never mind that its muted colors didn’t look anything like Hofmann. That’s not the point. The point is that I decided that the work wasn’t as Hofmann had intended and I opted to rework sections of it.

I was painting on top of Hofmann painting! And I was doing a pretty poor job of it. I did it with such confidence that I’m frightened  thinking about it now.

After I was done reworking the painting, I didn’t gloat. I looked at it and thought “Man, I really screwed up this one. I hope no one notices.” It was bad. Even in my dream, I knew it was bad.

What a breech of curatorial ethics–not to mention a breech of intelligence!

The only reason I can even think I was dreaming about Hans Hofmann is that I have a totally cool Office Spa Day lined up for my subscribers (you) with Jennifer Hofmann of Inspired Home Office

By the way, this is a Hofmann painting that is in the collection of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, where I served as curator some years ago. I promise–I never laid a finger on it!

Hans Hofmann, Provincetown Number One, 1937
Collection Oklahoma City Museum of Art
© 2006 Estate of Hans Hofmann / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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12 thoughts on “Messing with a Hans Hofmann”

  1. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Philip: Yes, a very different (and early!) Hofmann. It must be a study, but honestly I can’t recall. Mostly, I suppose Hofmann is appreciated as one of the foremost teachers in America in the 20th century.

  2. I’d say you’re feeling pretty smug about lining up a cool class like Jennifer’s! Do you have any instructor’s with the last name Van Gogh coming up? Now that’d be a dream!

  3. Monet planned a trip to Le Havre to paint…Finally he went…the weather was bad …so he had to go to Etretat instead (nearby, but better weather)…He didn’t want to paint Etretat, because so many other artists had already painted Etretat…So Monet did his Etretat series…kind of like this Hoffman painting…not really very, well, like Philip says, could use some help…I think maybe a moral that could be learned from your dream is that some things cannot be improved upon…maybe Provincetown where Hoffman painted this piece is like Etretat …just kind of a mediocre place…maybe the lesson is that art can be trapped by a crummy location…or anything else…that maybe sometimes to grow, you have to move & see new things…will look up Provincetown…(is it pretty there ?)

  4. woops, sorry for twice mispelling…I meant Hofmann(two n’s one f)…& when I looked up Provincetown, apparently alot of really great artists hung out there…so maybe, like Etretat, it had been painted too many times…(though my husband says in agreement to Alyson, that Hofmann was really known for his teaching…)

  5. Aren’t dreams funny things? Back when I was working for a major airline, I had variations on the anxious work dream – about 3 different themes. Every so often I have one and I wake up and remind myself I haven’t worked there in over 7 years. Just the other night I had a pottery dream – couldn’t find my wheel and all night long, I was trying to find it. At points in my dream, I would find a wheel, only to realize that it wasn’t mine. I know what mine means, I have some deadlines coming up and I’m feeling a little anxiety. Any big events coming your way?

  6. Pizza? Whatever it took to get you dreaming about Hoffman, I would like to try a dream about Degas, van Gogh or (yes) Hans Hoffman!

  7. Alyson, I’m with Cynthia–your dream about adding your work over a master’s work might suggest you are a little tense about all the new things you are doing. You are doing a fine job of introducing artists to advanced ideas about marketing with today’s tools. The root of anxiety might simply be your new ventures, or might indicate your need to regain control of older currently neglected parts of your life. Best wishes.

  8. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Sari: I once graded an entire undergrad paper ABOUT Hofmann and the student misspelled the name throughout. Bad presentation. As for Provincetown, yes! It’s very much still an artists’ community. Cynthia: Big events. Check. Got a boat load of them in the next two weeks. Interesting. Casey: Of course The Colorist has to appreciate Hofmann! Yvonne: This is all very interesting. I never would have put the two together, but it sounds like you know what you’re talking about. Sharon: I don’t think I saw my process in the dream. I had a brush in my hand and then suddenly the Hofmann was a mess!

  9. Lovely, audacious dream! Playful. Wicked. Inspiring actually. (Makes me want to paint.) Thank you for sharing. Love the image too – those expressionistic brushstrokes in the lower left totally do it for me. Laura

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