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Newly Discovered Photographs Show an Abstract Expressionist Thanksgiving

Artists (left to right) Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, and Jack Tworkov at the Provincetown home of Hans Hofmann during Thanksgiving, 1958. Hanging above them is a work by Joan Miro, which was the crown jewel in Hofmann’s personal art collection. (all photographs courtesy the Tworkov Family Collection and used with permission)
Artists (left to right) Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, and Jack Tworkov at the Provincetown home of Hans Hofmann during Thanksgiving, 1958. Hanging above them is a work by Joan Miró, which was the crown jewel in Hofmann’s personal art collection. (all photographs courtesy the Tworkov Family Collection and used with permission)

Jason Andrew of the Estate of Jack Tworkov recently uncovered a new cache of Thanksgiving photographs featuring some of the leading Abstract Expressionists. Andrew’s discovery in the family archive sheds light on a never before seen gathering of friends and family at the Provincetown, Massachusetts home of artist Hans Hofmann during Thanksgiving Day 1958.

Hans Hofmann carving the turkey as Vita Petersen looks on, Thanksgiving 1958.
Hans Hofmann carving the turkey as Vita Petersen looks on, Thanksgiving 1958.

The Hofmann dinner featured some of the leading artists of the New York School, including Franz Kline and his companion Betsy Ross Zogbaum, Jack Tworkov and his wife Wally, and daughter Helen, Giorgio Cavallon and his wife Linda Lindenberg, Myron Stout, Vita Peterson, and her daughter Andrea.

“These negatives were discovered in a box of Tworkov family photographs,” Andrew told Hyperallergic. “I discovered their significance once I had them processed earlier just this week. The photograph featuring Hofmann, Kline, and Tworkov on the coach is important. It was the key that helped identify and date the other images to Thanksgiving of 1958. I think it’s amazing to discover these images, which prove friendships and companionship beyond the letters, the interviews, and the shared exhibitions. The photograph I find most compelling is the one that features Hofmann and his wife with the artist Vita Petersen. Vita was a wonderful artist and was so well loved by the Hofmanns. This rare photo is living proof of this. And who couldn’t love the photo of Hans Hofmann carving up a holiday turkey!”

Vita Peterson with the Hofmann’s at the Hofmann house in Provincetown, Thanksgiving 1958.
Vita Petersen (right) with the Hofmann’s at the Hofmann house in Provincetown, Thanksgiving 1958.

One of the most historically significant images in the cache features artists Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, and Jack Tworkov in front of a 1937 gouache drawing by Joan Miró. “Hofmann thought highly of Miró,” Jim Yohe of Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe told Andrew. “The gouache by Miró hanging in Hofmann’s Provincetown home which is shown in these terrific Thanksgiving photographs, was no doubt a work that he considered a crown jewel in his personal art collection. In fact, the surreal figure in his Miro re-appears in a number of Hofmann’s own paintings and drawings.” It’s worth noting that the following year all three artists would go on to represent the United States at Documenta II in Kassel, Germany.

(Left to right) Hans Hoffman, Franz Kline, Besty Ross Zogbaum, Myron Stout, Wally Tworkov, Giorgio Cavallon, Miz Hofmann, Vita Petersen, and Helen Tworkov at the Thanksgiving 1958 diner at the Provincetown home of Hans and Miz Hofmann.
(Left to right) Hans Hoffman, Franz Kline, Besty Ross Zogbaum, Myron Stout, Wally Tworkov, Giorgio Cavallon, Miz Hofmann, Vita Petersen, and Helen Tworkov at the Thanksgiving 1958 diner at the Provincetown home of Hans and Miz Hofmann.
Giorgio Cavallon, Vita Peterson, Linda Lindeberg and Hans Hofmann in the Hofmann home.
Giorgio Cavallon, Vita Peterson, Linda Lindeberg and Hans Hofmann in the Hofmann home.

See all the images from the Tworkov Family Collection at jacktworkov.com.

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