Unremittingly gray days (and not fifty shades either). I wandered over the to the Met for relief, and  came upon a roomful of paintings from the 1960s by Hans Hofmann.

The room was rather dingy, the presentation so unceremonious that I almost turned on my heel, thinking I'd gone into an exhibition in the process of being taken down. But the majesty of these canvases stopped and then held me a long time, soaking in the color, marveling at knife and brush textures, enthralled by each bold gesture. I had never really fallen into a Hoffman painting before, and I gave myself over to the experience.

Above, from Deep Within the Ravine, and below, from Renate's Nantucket. Of course I had to race home to read more about Hoffman, who was also well-regarded as an art critic. "The ability to simplify," he wrote about abstract art, "means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."

After the death of his wife of nearly sixty years, Hoffman fell in love with Renate Schmitz. He was embarrassed by the fifty-year age difference between them, so they presented themselves publicly as "uncle" and "niece", until they married in 1965. Hoffman died shortly after, at the age of 85--having spent the previous year painting 45 canvases, ten of which he inscribed as "the Renate series." (Her life seems to have ended in a squalor of mental illness, sadly enough.)

Winter tends to be museum time for me; there is nothing better than to enter one of those great repositories of creative treasure with no intention other than to fall in love. And then do so. How often do give ourselves the time to let our busy lives fall away, and commune with what is necessary?


William said...

Hans Hofmann, Dominique? You 'fell' upon some damn good stuff! He's a true 'Renaissance' man. One of his students was Louise Nevelson and her fully restored 'Night Presence IV' was returned to the mall at 92nd and Park a few months ago after a long restoration. Well worth the trip from anywhere in the city.

As for visits to the Met, little known, certainly not publicized fact, the $25 admission (donation) fee is 'recommended', not required. I walk over there a few times a week to look at some good, usually French Impressionists or Hopper pictures , donate $1, and Bob's your uncle!

Oh also, use the handicap entrance on the 79th Street side, no lines!

Judith said...

Ahhh, if only .... I am stuck in a sea of unrelenting white. Thanks for this 'cheerer-upper' of a post and I shall google Mr. Hoffman post haste!

Judith said...

And for an inside view of all the white, click here: http://judithaross.com/2015/02/05/february-whites/

Jayne On Weed Street said...

GORGEOUS Color for a grey Georgia day! Thank you for reacquainting me with this artist. I haven't seen one of his paintings in FORVER! While I am delighted to be in Georgia with the daffodils beginning to bloom, you remind me of what I miss most about NYC - the Met, and of course, NYBG! Another great place to spend a Winter's Day.

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Nilda Caamano said...

I love to cash register watch the tourist who pay full price for groups of 5-6+...used to make me feel guilty for not telling them. But if movie theaters can suck us dry for mainstream crap museums deserve that and more. That 79th street entrance advice is a good little pearl to store away. Thanks!