by GJ Gillespie, founder of Leda Art Supply
Hans Hoffman was an influential leader in the abstract expressionist art movement and a master teacher, who inspired many of his students to become famous artists. His sketchbooks, which provide insight into how his thought processes evolved through each stage of his painting process, are invaluable for anyone seeking inspiration for their own artwork.
The majority of Hoffman’s sketches are pencil drawings on paper or canvas with occasional gouache, watercolor, and pastel studies. He often used this medium to plan out larger works that he would later complete using oil paint. Through his drawings, we gain a greater understanding of the way in which he approached color theory and composition. Many of these drawings also show us how Hoffman had mastered the ability to capture the essence of a landscape or figure and provide us with a unique insight into his visual language.
Many members of Hoffman’s student body, including abstract expressionist giants such as Lee Krasner and Franz Kline, have credited him for their success in the art world. In regards to teaching methods, Hoffman encouraged students to experiment with different mediums and techniques and to trust their instincts when it came to making art. He also promoted self-expression and believed that all artwork should come from within rather than copying someone else’s style. His sketchbooks remain an important resource for anyone wanting to gain insight into how he taught these lessons.
Hoffman had several rules for drawing which focused on experimentation, taking risks, and accepting the unknown. He believed that by allowing a work to develop organically rather than overthinking it, beautiful and powerful pieces of art could be created. His sketches are evidence of this belief in action.
Hoffman’s sketchbooks contain some of his most famous drawings, many of which have been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. These drawings often feature landscapes, figures or scenes from everyday life that are captured with a loose yet sensitive line quality.
Although Hoffman’s artwork is highly sought after by collectors today, prices for his drawings remain quite low compared to other abstract expressionists. For example, one drawing entitled “Red House” was sold for $2,000 in 2017.
The sketchbooks of Hans Hoffman remain an invaluable resource for art lovers and students alike. His drawings provide a unique glimpse into the mind of one of the most influential abstract expressionist artists and teachers, while also offering valuable insight into his painting process. As we continue to explore the fascinating work of Hoffman, we can find inspiration and guidance within these pages - allowing our own creative journey to unfold with ease.