Pastoral, Puerto Rico BY IRWIN D. HOFFMAN
BORN IN BOSTON in 1901, Irwin D. Hoffman has, in choosing subjects for his somber paintings and full-bodied etchings,
turned his back on the city and New England life close at hand.
Instead, he has become a recognized interpreter of mining and
boiler-room scenes, and, more latterly, of the peasant and worker of nearer
Latin America, particularly Mexico and Puerto Rico.
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His more recent work shows the invigorating influence (by no means undigested)
of Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco.
It is a tribute to the vigor of his native talent to say that he has
learned from these men without losing any of his individuality.
Pastoral, Puerto Rico, is a fine example of the artist’s ability to
fill the spaces of his picture without crowding them.
The diagonal line of the hillside on which the
four white-clothed men are at work, the almost parallel lines of
the handles of their hoes, are counterpoised by the antithetical
slant of the more distant ridges of hills, by the placing of the largest and
most important figure against the open space. Intentionally or by accident,
Hoffman has presented us with men doing work for a mere
pittance. He has not found it necessary to the presentation
of an implied social criticism.