Saturday, October 19, 2019

Hans Hofmann in the Abstract and Nature Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2750 words

Hans Hofmann in the Abstract and Nature - Essay Example The main concept behind abstract art is based on the idea that art is not static, but rather interactive with its audience and the political and social ideas of the audience's present as well as the symbols inherent in the particular forms used within the artwork. By reducing the recognizable forms, therefore, it becomes possible for the artist to attain a more pure expression in his or her creation. Jean-Francois Lyotard argues that avant-garde art uses experimental innovations in technique and structure to attempt "to make visible that there is something which can be conceived and which can neither be seen nor made visible" (Lyotard, 1997: 78). As an abstract artist, Hofmann was known as a synthesist because he brought together traditional methods and avant-garde concepts concerning the nature of painting, largely based on the works of Modern painters Cezanne, Kandinsky and Picasso's Synthetic Cubism. Because teaching dominated much of his creative life, his art was often critically measured against his theories. With his European sensibilities and his newly adopted American spirit, it needs to be remembered that Hofmann's work exemplifies a fusion of multiple aspects of 20th century art. A look into his biography reveals the development of his ideas regarding nature and abstraction while a glimpse into his career reveals how his teaching reflected this conceptual development. Biography Hans Hofmann was born in 1880 near Munich, Germany in a small city called Weissenburg, Bavaria. Growing up, he was surrounded by images of the past as his city still retained many remains of its ancient Roman past and of the countryside, with the closest large city being Ingolstadt more than 30 miles away. While this doesn't seem that far away to a modern audience accustomed to the use of cars to drive to the city every day from far off suburbs, Hoffman grew up in a time when the automobile was just springing to life. The first practical working horseless carriage was created in 1889 in Germany by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, when Hofmann was already 9 years old (Ament, 2005). It is possible that Hofmann had a chance to experience some of the technologies that were being developed in association with the automobile, however, because his father moved the family to Munich when Hofmann was just 6 when he took a job working for the government. "Hofmann developed an interest in m athematics, science, music and art at a very early age. When he was sixteen, his father helped him obtain a job with the Bavarian government as the assistant to the director of public works. During this time, Hofmann further developed his technical knowledge of mathematics, even inventing and patenting an electromagnetic comptometer" ("Hans Hofmann", 2007). Despite this, Hofmann's interest in art was superior to his interest in mathematics and, when his father died in the late 1800s, Hofmann decided to pursue this interest in greater detail. By 1898, Hofmann was studying art at the Mortiz Heymann's art school in Munich, where he came into contact with

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