One of the most accomplished abstract painters and influential teachers of the 20th century, Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) shaped three generations of artists, both in Europe and the United States. These students included Joan Mitchell, Larry Rivers, Allan Kaprow, and Marisol. As a painter, Hofmann is best remembered for his exhilarating large scale compositions that explore dynamic color and spatial relationships, topics about which he wrote widely read essays.
This work, Veluti in Speculum (1962) is from Hofmann’s so-called Renate series, a group of paintings he made as a tribute to his wife. Executed at the height of his career, they demonstrate the full power and broad a range of Hofmann’s distinctive style, one of the leading examples of painterly abstraction.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
It’s always fun to discover a new work by Pop artist /sculptress Marisol (AKA Maria Sol Escobar, born 1930 in Venezuela) when we are out on an art safari. Her pieces, which are like 3D portraits, can be found not only at the Whitney but in the permanent collections of The Met and MOMA as well, and they are instantly recognizable.
Equal parts painting, collage, carving, and assemblage, Women and Dog(1964) was inspired by sources as diverse as its constituent materials. Marisol worked in New York during the emergence of Pop Art in the early 1960s and was one of few women associated with the movement. This sculpture reflects the fascination with everyday life that was fundamental to Pop, and yet its larger-than-life, totemic forms and the multi-faced profiles of the figures belie influences from Pre-Colombian and Native American folk art to analytic Cubism.
The trio of females strolling with a child and a dog seem to suggest Marisol’s interest in social norms and conventions relating to women in society, but the composition is ambiguous. Elements of the women’s clothing are colorfully whimsical, yet they are literally “boxed in” by their garments, and their faces are marked by a deadpan impenetrability. The women, and perhaps the child too, are self-portraits — indeed, a photograph of the artist is applied directly onto the face of one of the figures — suggesting a fluid inhabitation of different female roles and identities.