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Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)
Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)


Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)
signed and dated 'Hans Hofmann 52' (lower right)
oil on panel
14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm.)
Painted in 1952.
Philip Martin Roth, San Diego
Gift from the above to the present owner

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Lot Essay

As much a theorist and an academic as an artist, Hofmann elevated the act of painting beyond that of simple aesthetics. He was deeply concerned with pictorial functions and relentlessly confronted the notion of dimensionality through a technique he referred to as "push and pull." "Depth, in a pictorial sense," he wrote, "is not created by the arrangement of the objects one after another toward a vanishing point, in the sense of Renaissance perspective, but on the contrary by the creation of forces in the sense of push and pull" (H. Hofmann, quoted in S. Hunter, Hans Hofmann, New York, 1963, p. 14). The visual inconsistencies in the present lot suggests a painting in motion, not defined by overlapping foregrounds, middle grounds and backgrounds, but by various grounds in a constant and dynamic state of movement. "Overlapping always produces a realistic or naturalistic effect-it is still not yet pure pictorial realization In pure plastic creation, planes are not allowed to overlap but do shift 'under them' in relation to the picture surface and this in accordance with the realization of a plastic idea" (H. Hofmann, quoted in C. Goodman, Hofmann, New York, 1986, p. 73).

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