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The Cover
July 26, 2000

The Golden Wall

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2000;284(4):407. doi:10.1001/jama.284.4.407

For most of his long life the German-born American painter Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) was better known for his teaching than for his painting. Only in 1958, after nearly 45 years as director of his own art school, first in Munich, then in New York City, did he give up teaching to paint full time. Already a generation older than such prominent Abstract Expressionists as Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, Clyfford Still, and Willem de Kooning, Hofmann took his place as a major and influential member of this first thoroughly American art movement. In Hofmann's hands a painting became no longer something someone looked at; it became, rather, something the viewer interacted with. Paintings no longer represented something; they were themselves the subject. No longer stationary scenes, they were now dynamic forces. Far from being illusions of reality, they were reality.