Hans Hofmann, Artist/Teacher, Teacher/Artist Lesson Plan Two: Introduction to Modern Art: Practice and Principals
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Lesson Plan Two:
Introduction to Modern Art: Practice and Principals

Grades: 10 – 12

Subject: Art, English, Humanities, Art History, Writing


This curriculum resource is a series of lesson plans divided into three parts:

  1. An Introduction to Abstract Expressionism

    Students will learn about several Abstract Expressionists and identify the ways in which they use color, line and form to express themselves.

  2. Compare and Contrast Other Artists With Hans Hofmann

    Students will learn about two artists who were featured in the documentary: Red Grooms and Frank Stella.

    They also will learn about Stuart Davis whose color theory may be contrasted with Hofmann’s.

  3. The Artist and the Political Climate of the Times

    Students will learn about ways in which politics and censorship shaped the life of Hans Hofmann.
Each lesson in the series is component of the larger curriculum resource. However, each may be used as an individual, finite lesson. The suggested time requirement for each of the three parts vary; educators are encouraged to adjust the time recommendation to fit their individual situations, as well as the needs, interests and abilities of their students. The student art journal is a key component in the lesson plans and the extensions. Students are encouraged to keep these journals as sites for experimenting with the style of a specific artist, color exploration, research notes, personal reflections, preliminary sketches, and rough drafts of writing. Students will later mine these art journals to create artwork based on a color theory or style of an artist referred to in the lessons and/or develop a research piece on a color theory or a specific artist.

Students should have these journals in class, and they should be encouraged to write and sketch in them both in and out of school. The keeping of journals encourages students to reflect upon their own process of creating artwork. At the culmination of an individual lesson or of this series of lessons, it is suggested that students mount an exhibition that includes finished artwork and written pieces, as well as excerpts from art journals, to demonstrate the importance of exploration and experimentation in the artistic process.

National Standards for Lessons I and II:

Visual Arts: Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques and Processes

  • Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence and sensitivity.

  • Students conceive and create works that demonstrate an understanding of how the communication of their ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes they use.
Visual Arts: Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions

  • Students evaluate the effectiveness of artworks in terms of organizational structures and functions.

  • Students create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems.

Visual Arts: Reflecting Upon and Assessing the Characteristics and Merits Of Their Work and the Work of Others

  • Students identify intentions of those creating artworks, explore the implications of various purposes, and justify their analyses of purposes in particular work.

  • Students reflect analytically on various interpretations.

Language Arts: Communication Skills

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

National Standards for Lesson III:

Social Sciences Era 8: a Half Century of Crisis and Achievement, 1900-1945

  • Students will understand reform, revolution, and social change in the world economy of the early century.

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