Finding solace indoors from snowfall with Hofmeister and Guston

I forgot how enjoyable it is to read about painters, especially ones that are new to me.  I found a 1991 WSU exhibition catalog, Odyssey, by Andrew L. Hofmeister (1913 – 2007) at Magnus Books in Seattle.  I’d never heard of Hofmeister before, but I was excited to find a Pacific Northwest artist whose featured work consists of acrylic/collage/mixed media.  Hofmeister, originally from the mid-west, was a fine art faculty member at WSU.  His early work in the 1940s consisted of watercolors, but in the 1960s he came across “the weather-crackled mirror” hanging on a cabin wall in northeast Oregon: 

“It had a profound effect on my work, which took on an ‘over-all busy look’ resulting in more complex compositions requiring deliberate viewing. I had come to the conclusion that I wanted people who were ‘not in a hurry’ to view my work.” (pg.3) 

Now that grad school is no longer an excuse for not having time to read, I’m about to start Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston by Musa Mayer (Guston’s daughter).  Although his style/medium is completely different, I’ve always found it intriguing that he switched from abstract expressionism (the then-hip style of the 1950’s/1960’s) to his own unique style of figurative painting – and he was (then) banished from the art world for it.

Serendipitously, Hofmeister and Guston were friendly acquaintances in Iowa City during the early 1940s. 

With this next painting I’ll have snow on my mind.


Hofmeister, A. L. (1991). Odyssey. Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press.

Mayer, M. (1997). Night studio: a memoir of Philip Guston. New York: Da Capo Press.