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Hans Hofmann
Date: American painter and teacher, born in Germany, 1880–1966
School: Abstract Expressionist
Biography: Born and raised in Germany, Hans Hofmann was an important abstract painter and teacher in the United States from the 1930s through the 1960s. Born in Weissenberg, Hofmann moved to Munich with his family as a teenager. He studied art there with Willi Schwarz at Moritz Heymann's art school. With the support of Phillip Freudenberg, his patron, Hofmann studied and worked in Paris from 1904 to 1914. He attended classes at the École de la Grand Chaumiére and the Académie Colarossi and met leading modern artists including Picasso, Braque, and Matisse. He exhibited with the Neue Sezession in Berlin. Returning to Munich in 1914, Hofmann turned to teaching and, after World War I, his classes attracted an international roster of students. In 1930, he taught a summer session at the University of California, Berkeley, leading to other appointments in California, New York and Massachusetts. He remained in the United States due to escalating tensions in Germany, and Hofmann eventually opened his own school. His teaching and writing--which introduced ideas like the "push-pull" of colors--influenced generations of artists including the New York School painters of the 1950s.