Art: Schoolmaster of the Abstract

A few days before he died last week of a heart attack, Bavarian-born Hans Hofmann, 85, stopped by at Manhattan's Kootz Gallery to see his current exhibition, 21 large oils, all but two painted within the last year. A pretty, 13-year-old schoolgirl, feasting her eyes on the bright rectangles aswim in impastes of Christmas-color oils, turned to the great, grey, shambling man and asked timidly, "Aren't you Mr. Hofmann?" With a beam, he nodded, replied, "And of course you paint yourself." For him there was no higher activity and he meant it as a...

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