HANS HOFMANNGerman 1880 - 1966

Realized in the early 1940s, this painting belongs to a pivotal period in Hans Hofmann’s work, forming part of his early experiments with abstraction. Its depth and vitality derive from planes of vibrant, layered color, reflecting Hofmann’s belief that art evokes the dynamism of lived experience through visual stimuli, or what he termed “the creation of forces in the sense of push and pull”.

HANS HOFMANNGerman 1880 - 1966

A generation older than his artistic circle in the United States, Hofmann’s approach to art-making was rooted in European modernism. Having lived in Paris from 1904 to 1914, he came to know leading vanguard figures, including Matisse, Picasso, Braque, and Robert and Sonia Delaunay. Hofmann was among the first to incorporate the ideas of modernism into his teaching and his methods influenced several generations of painters, including Louise Nevelson and Helen Frankenthaler.

Originally from Germany, Hofmann immigrated to America in the 1930s. By the 1940s, he was recognised for his vibrant, daring work and insightful use of artistic theory, becoming an integral part of the American vanguard. Clement Greenberg, the seminal modern art critic, grappled with the brilliance and complexity of his work, writing that “Hofmann is perhaps the most difficult artist alive - difficult to grasp and to appreciate. But by the same token he is an immensely interesting, original, and rewarding one, whose troubles in clarifying his art stem in large part precisely from the fact that he has so much to say.”

Around 1944 Jackson Pollock introduced Hofmann to Peggy Guggenheim, who organised his first solo show at her New York gallery. He exhibited widely throughout his career, including major shows at Paris’s Galerie Maeght, the Walker Art Centre, the Whitney Museum of American Art and Kootz Gallery. His work is in numerous public collections, including Tate Modern, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.