Michael Hafftka

My work is represented in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, New York Public Library, Housatonic Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Yeshiva University Museum and other museums.

I paint truthfully. It might be the truth of a real person or of an imaginary scene. I learned to let go of all judgment while I paint, there is only love, love of the subject being painted, love of the experience. I let go of all concerns and reach a heightened state of focus and connection with my subject, it is a very electrifying experience. As a result I achieve a unique and innovative beauty, one that wouldn’t be possible if my approach was more conventional, realistic or abstract.

I have been an artist for over 40 years. It has been rewarding to see the pleasure people get from living with my work. I am forever grateful to the collectors of my work who shared their enthusiasm with me. Being an artist is a lot of fun!

—Michael Hafftka


Portrait of William H. Gass oil on canvas 16 x 12 inches 2013

Michael Hafftka has a way with paint and he can pace his sometimes very large paintings in such a way that we want to see what will happen next.
—John Russell, The New York Times

New York has scarcely seen figure paintings of such unrelenting solemnity and exasperation, or with so original an authority, since Francis Bacon brought his first exhibition to the city. Like him, Hafftka can be characterized as both an eccentric visionary and an increasingly dazzling technician whose virtuoso painterly expressivity and skills invite comparison with the masters.
—Sam Hunter, Princeton University,  Michael Hafftka: Dreamworks 

Hafftka is a marvelously resourceful Neo-Expressionist in command of technique, subject matter and, most important, vision. He's also one of the best young painters to have come along in a decade, without posturing or pretense or super evident jockeying for art-world position. Hafftka is too hideously virtuous for the latter; and, if virtue is its own reward, it is also, in this case, proof of an astonishing integrity of style.
—Gerrit Henry, Art In America

Hafftka is a humanist in the line of Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt and Myer Shapiro — his are wild notations in an inescapable flesh and fire. There is in him Soutine and Bacon, a space opened for the scream of creatures; He is not afraid of pathos and the nightmares of Goya.
—David Shapiro author of Mondrian's FlowersJasper Johns