In this work by Hans Hofmann, thick, richly painted orange brushstrokes overlap on the canvas and act as a background to the bursts of red, blue, green, and yellow forms

Hans Hofmann

American, 1880-1966

Concerto in Colours, 1964

Oil on panel

32 x 23 7/8 inches

Signed and dated lower right

Born in Germany, Hofmann moved in 1905 to Paris, where he met Matisse, Picasso, and Braque, among other luminaries. Returning to Germany, Hofmann encountered the art of Kandinsky, an influence that shaped his career as a painter and a teacher. He opened his first school in 1915 and attracted students from across Europe and the United States. His lessons brought him wide acclaim, and soon Hofmann was invited to teach summer courses in California. In the early 1930s he immigrated to the United States, founding the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in New York and leading summer programs in Provincetown, MA.

For 25 years Hofmann devoted himself to teaching and had little time for his own art. By the 1940s, however, he was painting again and was almost entirely devoted to abstraction. Concerto in Colours is a masterful example of Hofmann’s late “Slab” paintings, a style that visualized his theoretical concepts. Thick, richly painted orange brushstrokes overlap on the canvas and act as a background to the bursts of red, blue, green, and yellow forms. The liberal use of pigments create texture and depth and reveal Hofmann’s dynamic energy as a painter.

In this work by Hans Hofmann, thick, richly painted orange brushstrokes overlap on the canvas and act as a background to the bursts of red, blue, green, and yellow forms