[art] analysis: hans.hofmann

Hans Hofmann was a mathematician, scientist, Bavarian, inventor, and most of all a painter. Hans was born on March 21st 1880 in WeiBenburg, Bavaria. His parents were Theodor and Franziska Hofmann.

Hans Hofmann is abstract-expressionism. At the age of six he moved to Munich where he heavily studied science and mathematics. At the age of sixteen he gained experience as an assistant to the director of Public Works. Hofmann’s specific style is illustrated by “a rigorous concern with pictorial structure, spatial illusion, and color relationships.” To understand his methods, the understanding of pictorial structure, spatial illusion, and color relationships are necessary.

Pictorial Structures

Pictorial structures are “connections between certain pairs of parts.” For example, when diagramming the human body, a simple outline of parts connected by joints would be sufficient. In doing a pictorial structure, the five parts – arms, legs, head – could be symbolized by five objects connecting in any manner.

Spatial illusion

Spatial illusion occurs when the “perceived model differs from the physical model whether in dimension, orientation, curvature or direction.” For example, the architrave and roofing system create a perfect triangle. The columns below create a spatial illusion and make the architrave appear saggy.

Color Relationships

Color relationships deal with the mixing and matching of specific colors to create a specific emotion or idea. To find successful color relationships, it’s helpful to understand the positions of colors on the color wheel. It’s also helpful to understand what color schemes work together in harmony.

Monochromatic:Analogous:Complementary:Split Complementary:Triadic:Tetradic

Hans Hofmann's Untitled(1949) piece demonstrates his use of pictorial structures and color relationships.In this painting the basic colors are spread almost equally around and gives it a unified structure. Hofmann also utilizes black and shades of gray to add a dark tone to the overall composition. Within this painting there are hints of life through animals and human body parts. At first glance, it was prevalent that the story was about a volcano erupting and spilling over and destroying everything. When looking at this painting, stereotypical images relate to the color choices. Images of roosters, arms, faces, music and a volcano become visible and create a sense of destruction. The painting communicates chaos and confusion. This painting demonstrates the use of shape and color. With the ranch house project, I plan to exercise these principles of design and develop salient images to illustrate Hans Hofmann’s painting in a residential space.

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