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Janet M. Torpy, MD
JAMA. 2012;307(24):2569. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3722.
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In the early 1700s, Johann Sebastian Bach composed his Six concerts à plusieurs instruments or, as they are known today, the Brandenburg Concertos. Bach sent his compositions, along with a dedicatory letter, to the margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt. These Baroque masterpieces, whether played by a large or small ensemble, resonate with Bach's genius. When Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) painted, he listened to these concerti—and as he heard them, he absorbed their magic, inspiring him to express his unique vision. Hofmann, often stylistically grouped with the Abstract Expressionist painters Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Milton Avery ( JAMA cover, May 23/30, 2012), and Robert Motherwell, holds a pivotal place in the transition of American modern art. For many years, probably most of Hofmann's life, he was primarily recognized as a teacher and not as a master artist. His pupils, a veritable list of modern art's foundation, included Lee Krasner (who married Jackson Pollock), Helen Frankenthaler, Ray Eames, and Wolf Kahn.

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Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), Mirage, 1946, American. Oil on canvas. 64.1 × 73.2 cm. Courtesy of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University (http://museum.cornell.edu/), Ithaca, New York; gift of David M. Solinger, class of 1926; 69.027. © 2012 Renate, Hans & Maria Hofmann Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, New York. Photography courtesy of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University.



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