This work will be included in the forthcoming Hans Hofmann catalogue raisonné being supported by the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust.
Tina Dickey, the author of the Hans Hofmann catalogue raisonné, writes of this work: "Tourbillon is a true masterwork, a culmination of a vein of loose, thickly painted brushwork explored throughout 1958 and 1959 in works such as Conjuror (1959, Lenbachhaus, Munich) and X Orange (1959, Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin). That same year of 1960, Hofmann was beginning to address large areas of paint in the thin washes so prevalent in his final works."
As one of the major figures of Abstract Expressionism, Hans Hofmann represents a crucial bridge between European movements such as Cubism and Fauvism and the new bravura style of American painting. In 1960, Hofmann was the height of his creative powers, as he refined and distilled his painterly technique and its underlying principles. It is evident in a painting such as Tourbillon: Hofmann has formulated a new kind of painterly expression, which incorporates the Cubist structure and overlapping planes indicating depth and surface, as well as the Fauvist daring use of color and tonal contrasts to evoke a certain mood or the sensibility of unbridled energy. Tourbillon, meaning a vortex, such as in a whirlpool or whirlwind, exemplifies Hofmann's masterful handling of the palette knife and pigment. The image is a potent combination of pure concentration of the impasto and of release in the thinner passages in between. In the present work, the stark contrast between the stillness of the vortex near the center and the swirling eddies at the periphery contributes to its visual impact.
Hans Hofmann in his studio, c. 1952 Photograph by Sam Feinstein