Hans Hofmann’s Last Lesson: A Study of the Artist’s Materials During the Last Decade of His Career
November 8, 2016 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Dawn V. Rogala, Ph.D.
Paintings Conservator, Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute
Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) was intellectually and physically situated at the nexus of Abstract Expressionist experimentation. Many of the condition problems conservators face in the treatment of modern paintings first appear in Abstract Expressionist work, and Hofmann is an excellent mirror of this unique historical moment. Join us in an overview of Dr. Rogala’s research on the work of this renowned artist and teacher, and in a discussion of what Hofmann’s materials can teach us about the study and preservation of modern art.
Building on her earlier Smithsonian research revealing incompatibility problems in the incorporation of new materials by Hofmann and his Abstract Expressionist colleagues, this new research by Dr. Rogala tracks Hofmann’s use of materials during and following the operation of his popular art schools in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts. Using analytical data gathered from the analysis of over 500 paint and fiber samples, this presentation will trace Hofmann’s embrace of industrial paint binders and modern organic pigments, focusing on relationships between the artist’s late-career materials, style, and the impact of these choices on the long-term stability of Hofmann’s work.