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Hans Hofmann: Quotes

"Painters must speak through paint, not through words."

"Every art expression is rooted fundamentally in the personality and temperament of the artist."

"A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops."

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."

"It makes no difference whether a work is naturalistic or abstract; every visual expression follows the same fundamental laws."

"My aim in painting is to create pulsating, luminous, and open surfaces that emanate a mystic light, in accordance with my deepest insight into the experience of life and nature."

"To worship the product and ignore its development leads to dilettantism and reaction. Art cannot result from sophisticated, frivolous, or superficial effects."

"Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind."

"Art is magic... But how is it magic? In its metaphysical development? Or does some final transformation culminate in a magic reality? In truth, the latter is impossible without the former. If creation is not magic, the outcome cannot be magic."

"When the impulses which stir us to profound emotion are integrated with the medium of expression, every interview of the soul may become art. This is contingent upon mastery of the medium."

"In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light."

"An idea can only be materialized with the help of a medium of expression, the inherent qualities of which must be surely sensed and understood in order to become the carrier of an idea."

"Just as counterpoint and harmony follow their own laws, and differ in rhythm and movement, both formal tensions and color tensions have a development of their own in accordance with the inherent laws from which they are separately derived. Both, however, aim toward the realization of the same image. And both deal with the depth problem."

"Creation is dominated by three absolutely different factors: First, nature, which works upon us by its laws; second, the artist, who creates a spiritual contact with nature and his materials; third, the medium of expression through which the artist translates his inner world."

"The art of pictorial creation is so complicated – it is so astronomical in its possibilities of relation and combination that it would take an act of super-human concentration to explain the final realization."

"Color is a plastic means of creating intervals... color harmonics produced by special relationships, or tensions. We differentiate now between formal tensions and color tensions, just as we differentiate in music between counterpoint and harmony."

"The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color. Our entire being is nourished by it. This mystic quality of color should likewise find expression in a work of art."

"Colors must fit together as pieces in a puzzle or cogs in a wheel."

"A work of art is a world in itself reflecting senses and emotions of the artist's world."

"What goes on in abstract art is the proclaiming of aesthetic principles... It is in our own time that we have become aware of pure aesthetic considerations. Art never can be imitation."