Comments for JH

By Larry Thomas, Dean of Academic Affairs, Emeritus, San Francisco Art Institute

Julius Hatofsky taught at the San Francisco Art Institute for thirty-three years, from 1962 until 1995.  His role as teacher and mentor to generations of art students during that time are memorable in many ways to the multitude of students who worked with him.  His studio work was inspirational to his students.  It was bold, large-scaled, ambitious in content, and unique in vision and spirit.  His work spoke a visual language that was at the same time quiet yet forceful; large yet intimate; personal yet universal; reflective yet searching. These qualities are the forces that students gravitate toward, absorb, and follow throughout their development as artists.  Often this cannot be understood at the moment, rather only later can one come to the realization that something special and unique has transpired.  In many respects this describes the manner in which Julius conducted his studio classes in painting and drawing.  He was well aware of the position he held with his students and he honored their individuality while gently pushing them toward deeper, more enigmatic realms in their work.  

Julius Hatofsky’s influence is well remembered by his unassuming attitude toward his students.  He did not “address” a class of students; instead he spoke individually with each and encouraged them in particularly insightful ways without demands but with expectations.  The importance of his contribution to the field of contemporary painting in the San Francisco Bay Area cannot be overestimated.  Legions of students attest to his influence and his gentle guidance as one of the most important teachers they encountered while studying at SFAI.  He was indeed an inspiration to all of us who encountered him and who came to know his work as a teacher and studio artist.

Larry Thomas

March 7, 2013