HANS HOFMANN "THE CITY" OIL ON PLYWOOD, 1940
Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) was a pre-eminent figure of postwar American art and one of the most important artists (and instructors) of the 20th century. Born in Germany, Hofmann immigrated to New York in 1932, bringing with him years of experience and influence from the European avant-garde.
With a career spanning nearly six decades, Hofmann's legacy is marked by extensive exploration, often synthesizing elements from various movements as he reimagined the culminate possibilities of color, form, and space.
In addition to his prolific oeuvre, Hofmann was a Modern art teacher credited for his profound influence on the next generation of artists. Over the course of his illustrious teaching career, Hofmann was a mentor to Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Louise Nevelson, to name a few.
Hofmann's achievements also include major contributions to art theory, earning respect and acclaim from renowned critics such as Clement Greenberg. Notably his revolutionary idea of "push and pull" which promotes the use of contrasting color and form to create relational perspective on a two-dimensional plane.
Although the theory wasn't published until 1948, this intimate oil painting serves as a striking example of the technique at play. Broad planes of turquoise are propelled against the torrent of cobalt anchored in the center of the work. Swathes of crimson and ochre are expertly intertwined, tying the work together to enhance the illusion of depth.
The bold color blocking in this piece is perhaps an early precursor to Hofmann's iconic 'slab' paintings which were later introduced in the last decade of his career.
This lively painting presents a rare opportunity to acquire a piece from one of the most significant artists of the 20th century.
In 2017, Hofmann achieved an auction record of $8.8 million for his 1960 work "Lava". Today, Hofmann's work can be found in many major public collections across the United States and beyond, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich).
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Oil on plywood
Initialed by artist, bottom right.
Various notations, date and title on verso
7.5"H 8"W (work)
14.5"H 15.25"W (framed)
Very good condition.
Provenance: Ameringer McEnery Yohe Gallery, New York
Morrison Gallery, Connecticut
Private Collection, Canada
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