It’s one of those endings, sad but understandable, that have become all too familiar among older artists and writers in East Hampton. After several decades of active involvement in the arts community of Springs, Jean Hoffmann is leaving East Hampton for Manhattan.
She may be packing up most of her belongings, but she hopes to leave something precious behind. On Saturday, Ms. Hoffmann, the widow of the painter and printmaker Arnold Hoffmann Jr., will hold a studio sale of a large part of his work.
Not all of it will fit in the apartment she is moving to near Lincoln Center this fall, to be closer to her family and the activities in the city. Ms. Hoffmann, who is also a poet, has been taking various classes there, but she said last week that driving back and forth was taking a toll, and nighttime driving here as well. Her companion, Eric Kruh, died in March and she has found it too remote to live alone in the woods.
Although she is looking forward to the future, it is not without regret that she leaves. “We fell in love with the place in 1949 when we rented a little summer house on Three Mile Harbor with two little babies,” she said last week. Mr. Hoffmann worked for The New York Times for 30 years, retiring as the art director of the Sunday magazine in 1972, when the couple moved to their house on Fireplace Road in Springs full time. They built the house based on his designs, and Ms. Hoffmann still has a panorama of their stunning view over her doorway in the house she rents now in Northwest Woods.
Mr. Hoffmann founded the Screen Print Workshop here that same year, and became a master printer of his own work and others’, including James Brooks, Esteban Vicente, and Robert Gwathmey. He printed the annual Springs Invitational exhibit poster for many years in his Springs workshop.
After his death Ms. Hoffmann remained in the house for two years, but she found the upkeep of two acres too much and sold it. She has lived in a series of places ever since, but always in East Hampton. “I hate to leave East Hampton,” she said, adding that one of her grandsons recently took a walk in the village with her. “He came back home and said to his parents, ‘Grandma knows everybody.’ ”
The couple was part of the artistic community and a community of New York Times staffers who gathered at dinner parties at Craig Claiborne’s house in East Hampton. Ms. Hoffmann also fondly recalled the annual Thanksgiving dinners thrown by Jimmy and Dallas Ernst before he died in 1984.
Little remains of that life or those times, she said, although this generation’s artists still meet regularly at Ashawagh Hall, where Ms. Hoffmann was honored this month for her contributions to the Springs Improvement Society and the annual exhibits.
Ms. Hoffmann will hold the sale with a friend, Jacqueline Myers, who, with the aid of some galleries and auction houses, is helping her organize and value the works.
Mr. Hoffmann died in 1991, leaving a number of canvases and silk screens. The sale will occur at 16 Todd Drive, East Hampton, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some 30 paintings and a large group of prints will be available for purchase from $900 to several thousand dollars.