Lot 117
  • 117

Hans Hofmann

600,000 - 800,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Hans Hofmann
  • Gold and Green
  • signed and dated 55; signed, titled and dated 1955 on the reverse
  • oil on canvas

  • 36 by 48 in. 91.4 by 121.9 cm.


Kootz Gallery, New York (acquired directly from the artist in 1955)
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above in 1955)
BlumHelman Gallery, New York (acquired from the above in 1983)
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1983


Des Moines Art Center, Iowa Collects 1973, November – December 1973


Hans Hofmann, "The Color Problem in Pure Painting, Its Creative Origin," Arts and Architecture 73, February 1956, no. 2, p. 15, illustrated

Catalogue Note

A bold symphony of color, Gold and Green (1955), was executed at the height of Hans Hofmann's career. Pulsating with dynamism yet harmonious and elegant, its vibrant colors and purposefully frenetic composition establishes the Abstract Expressionist's "Push Pull" theory. This technique served to create the illusion of space in his canvases, transforming two-dimensional surfaces into three-dimensional organisms. The present work is the predecessor for the artist's later archetoric works for which he is so renowned.  The planar brightly colored blocks of color which envelop his late works pulsate with the same energy as the thick impasto of Gold and Green.  "My aim in painting," he once wrote, "is to create pulsating, luminous, and open surfaces that emanate a mystic light, in accordance with my deepest insight into the experience of life and nature," (Quoted in Katherine Kuh, The Artist's Voice: Talks with Seventeen Modern Artists, Cambridge, 1962. p. 128). Objects in the natural world—trees, rocks, pools of water—are reduced to their most elemental colors and structure. As Hofmann himself explains: "Creation is dominated by three absolutely different factors: First, nature, which works upon us by its laws; second, the artist, who creates a spiritual contact with nature and his materials; third, the medium of expression through which the artist translates his inner world," (Quoted in William Seitz, Hans Hofmann, New York, 1963. p. 15). 

The present work, which appears like a burst of confetti, tactile with thick impasto, retains traces of Hofmann's art historical influences: Cezanne's use of white highlights, Kandinsky's vibrant hues, and Picasso's broad brush strokes. Hofmann so successfully fuses the lessons learned by his predecessors into a raw synthesis that is entirely his own.