"An artist who 'ate color not with a teaspoon but with a shovel,' Hofmann brought European modernism and abstraction to art students of mid-century America with the same Kraft (power, life force) that imbued his own work. With sensitivity, style, and exemplary use of sources, Tina Dickey recreates the man, his work, his teaching, and the lost ambience of that idealistic era when art changed lives, before there was a mass media or international art market, and before cynicism and irony saturated the art world. In an era that regards sincerity and integrity as old-fashioned, irrelevant, and even embarrassing, Hofmann's belief that art can generate 'forces of creation equivalent to forces in the physical world' (from Harold Rosenberg's eulogy) makes clear what is lost when the importance of art is reflected in its cost rather than its value."

– Ellen Dissanayake, Author

What Is Art For?
Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why
Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began


"What a book— informative, moving, and clarifies so much that was always unclear to me. One revelation after another, and it reads beautifully. Detailed, but with broad perspectives, all in the context of other important events. I hated to put it down. An amazing achievement! I was especially gratified to see both of the Hofmanns from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Fiat Lux was my last acquisition for the museum, and was met with stony silence except by the few who knew painting. A stormy picture, and it matched my mood at the time, so I was taken with Hofmann’s comment, in the book, that it was painted in a mood of ‘negative ecstasy’— exactly!"

– William C. Agee, Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor of Art History, Hunter College
Author; former director (MFAH, Pasadena Art Museum) and curator (MOMA and Whitney)


"Hofmann’s teaching ... was crucial to a number of Canadian abstract artists, including Joe Plaskett, Hortense Gordon, Alexandra Luke, Jock Macdonald, Takao Tanabe, William Ronald, Don Jarvis, and Margaret Peterson. ... Between his arrival in America in 1933 and his death in 1966, his passionate teaching based on strong principles inspired a generation of teachers and artists. This exhaustive book not only outlines Hofmann’s biography but aims to impart his teaching, as conveyed by those who studied with him. ... Hofmann’s influence on hundreds of painters was a vital part of the scene and is at last brought to light."

– Robert Amos, Times Colonist
(Victoria, BC, February 5, 2011)
"Treat your mind’s eye to painterly tomes"