Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) The Cross (Sketch for Mosaic), 1950 Oil on paper mounted on board, 84 x 35 1⁄2 in. Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust Photograph by Doug Young
Take a look at the Bruce Museum’s website for the exhibit!
Press release from the Bruce Museum:
GREENWICH, CT, April 14, 2015 – May brings a burst of color to the Northeast, and next month is sure to be no exception – especially because this time the Bruce Museum in Greenwich plans to help Nature along. The Museum will be awash in the vibrant hues of Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann beginning May 2. Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann, the first ever exhibition to focus on the artist’s varied and under-appreciated public mural projects, opens at the Bruce Museum on May 2 and continues through September 6, 2015.
“Hans Hofmann is famed for his dynamic approach to color,” says New York University Professor of Modern Art Kenneth Silver, also an Adjunct Curator of Art at the Bruce Museum, and the curator of this exhibition. “He was a towering figure among New York School painters. He was also the most important teacher and theoretician of the Abstract Expressionist movement.”
The centerpiece of Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann will be nine oil studies by Hofmann, each seven feet tall, for the redesign of the Peruvian city of Chimbote. This was Hofmann’s extraordinary collaboration, in 1950, with Catalan architect José Luis Sert – the man who designed the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair in 1937, for which Picasso’s great mural Guernica was conceived. Although never realized, this visionary project was to include a huge mosaic wall – a freestanding bell tower in the town center – designed by Hofmann, which would incorporate not only his own highly evolved notions of Abstract Expressionist visual dynamics, but also forms symbolic of traditional Peruvian culture, religion and history.
Although now nearly forgotten, Hofmann also created two huge public murals in Manhattan. In 1956, for the developer William Kaufman, and in collaboration with the noted pioneer modernist architect William Lescaze, Hofmann created an astonishing, brilliantly colored mosaic mural, wrapped around the elevator bank in the main entrance hall of the office building at 711 Third Avenue. Two years later, in 1958, commissioned by the New York City Board of Education, Hofmann created a 64-foot long and 11-foot tall mosaic-tile mural for the High School of Printing (now the High School of Graphic Arts Communication) on West 49th Street.
“We are going to be bringing these large-scale, stunning works to life within the walls of the Bruce Museum via superb and varied painted studies, mosaic maquettes, photos, and architectural scale models of both projects – as well as a mural for an unrealized New York apartment house of the same period – which will show us not only Hofmann’s working methods, but also just how significant these murals were to the development of his art in general,” says Kenneth Silver. “The final section of the exhibition will demonstrate, by means of key later paintings, the crucial influence of the mural projects on Hofmann’s final and brilliant flowering as an easel painter. This show will reveal the power of Hofmann’s painting for a new generation.”
A scholarly catalogue has been created for the exhibition, with a foreword from Peter C. Sutton, Executive Director of the Bruce Museum, and essays by Curator Kenneth Silver and Mary McLeod, Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University. Public programming planned for the exhibition includes the 2015 Bob and Pam Goergen Lecture Series, with lectures by Curator Kenneth E. Silver on Tuesday, May 5; Stacey Gershon, principal at Stacey Gershon Fine Art/MLG Art Advisory on Thursday, June 11; and Mary McLeod, Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, Columbia University, on Thursday, June 25. All lectures will be held at the Museum and will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann opens on May 2 and runs through September 6. And when you go, don’t forget your cell phone: This exhibition, like many others at the Bruce, will be accompanied by Guide by Cell, a compelling cell phone audio tour guide program, generously underwritten by Lucy and Nat Day. Easy to follow Guide by Cell instructions will be available at the front admissions desk. à Ken, will there by a Guide by Cell? If not, we’ll take this part out.
Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann is generously underwritten by The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund; Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust; JP Morgan; and a Committee of Honor chaired by Sabrina Forsythe, Sachiko Goodman, Susan Mahoney, Simone McEntire, and Susan Tejpaul. For more information about the new exhibition and its programming, visit www.brucemuseum.org.