63
63
Hans Hofmann
CONJUNTIS VIRIBUS (WITH UNITED POWER)
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
JUMP TO LOT
63
Hans Hofmann
CONJUNTIS VIRIBUS (WITH UNITED POWER)
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York

Hans Hofmann
1880 - 1966
CONJUNTIS VIRIBUS (WITH UNITED POWER)
signed and dated 63; signed, titled, dated 1963 and numbered Cat 1515 on the reverse
oil on canvas
72 x 60 in. 182.9 x 152.4 cm.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Estate of the Artist (Estate no. M-0033)
André Emmerich Gallery, New York 
Alexander Cortesi, New York (acquired from the above in 1972)
André Emmerich Gallery, New York (acquired from the above in 1975)
Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago 
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1975)
Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1988)
The Onnasch Collection, Berlin (acquired in 1991)
Sotheby's, New York, May 12, 2004, Lot 28
Acquired by the present owner from the above

Exhibited

New York, Museum of Modern Art;  Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum; Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna; Stuttgart, Württembergischer Kunstverein; Hamburg, Kunstverein; Bielefeld, Städtisches Kunsthaus, Hans Hofmann, September 1963 - October 1965, cat. no. 34, n.p., illustrated (Amsterdam), cat. no. 39, n.p., illustrated (Turin) and cat. no. 34, n.p., illustrated (Stuttgart, Hamburg, and Bielefeld) (Amsterdam, Turin, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Bielefeld only)
New York, Kootz Gallery, Hans Hofmann1963, February - March 1964, n.p., illustrated in color
Montclair Art Center, The Recent Years, April - May 1970
Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery, Twentieth Century Paintings and Sculpture, 1988, p. 29, illustrated in color
Munich, Lenbachhaus; Frankfurt, Schirn, Hans Hofmann, April - November 1997, cat. no. 20, illustrated in color and p. 2 (text)
Bremen, Neues Museum Weserburg, Extended Loan, 1997-2001
Barcelona, Museu d'Art Contemporani; Serralves, Museu Serralves, Museu d'Arte Contemporanea, The Onnasch Collection: Apects of Contemporary Art, November 2001 - February 2002, p. 49, illustrated in color

Literature

Cynthia Goodman, Hans Hofmann, New York, 1986, p. 98 (text)
Art in America 78, no. 9, September, 1990, p. 33, illustrated in color (in an advertisement for Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago)
Exh. Cat., Bremen, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bestände Onnasch, 1992, p. 27, illustrated in color
Helmut Friedel and Tina Dickey, Hans Hofmann, New York, 1998, pl. 20, illustrated in color and p. 12 (text)
James Yohe, ed., Hans Hofmann, New York, 2002, p. 36, illustrated in color
Suzi Villiger, ed., Hans Hofmann: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, New York, 2014, cat. no. P1501, p. 415, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Transmitting the vital aesthetic vigor of an artist at the apex of his mature painterly powers, Conjuntis Viribus is an indisputably impactful exemplar of Hans Hofmann’s corpus. Painted in 1963, three years before the artist’s death, this work is a simultaneous culmination and rebirth of his prodigious life's work. With an illustrious exhibition history that bespeaks its central importance and a rich surface that announces Hofmann as both a pioneering colorist and preeminent abstractionist, Conjuntis Viribus subsumes us within its mesmerizing composition. Despite being a generation older than many of his peers, Hofmann bridged the gap between the School of Paris – dominated by artists such as Sonia Delaunay and Raoul Dufy – and the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York with energetic innovation, especially during the last decade of his life when he created the present work. This magnificent painting definitively embodies the critical link between tradition and the avant-garde that characterizes the very best of Hofmann’s art and is a masterful example of the artist’s sensational 'push-pull' synthesis of formal compositional structure and expressionist mark-making. The conflation of rigid forms and the exuberant application of impasto material, all infused with the sheer brilliance of vibrant color, is precisely characteristic of the exemplars of his revered and enduringly influential oeuvre and makes this a simply outstanding archetype of his output.

In 1958, Hofmann retired from his career as a teacher and, for the remaining eight years of his life, devoted himself exclusively to his own painting. Conjuntis Viribus broadcasts arresting vibrancy as the starkly geometric luminous green plane intersects in energized cubist style with freer swathes of painterly exuberance. As such, it solidifies its place as an ideal example of the artist’s late paintings, which are defined by a spectacular outburst of dynamism partially contained within architectonic compartments. Irving Sandler had suggested that “Hofmann may have derived the idea of using rectangles in his painting from one of his teaching techniques: attaching pieces of construction paper to the canvases of his students.” (Irving Sandler, The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism, New York, 1970, p. 147, note 5) In the present work Hofmann has abandoned illusionistic space and representational imagery entirely in favor of dramatic graphic arrangement and ebullient color, as the implied architecture of forms vies with the flurried brushwork of the multi-faceted ground.

Against a ground of gloriously glowing red, Hofmann encouraged darker passages to emerge, punctuated at critical intervals by scintillating chromatic accents. The result is a composition of unparalleled dynamism, arresting power, and alluring seduction, as shockingly intense today as it surely was half a century ago. In the same year as this work’s execution Hofmann stated that "push and pull is a colloquial expression applied for movement experienced in nature or created on the picture surface to detect the counterplay of movement in and out of depth. Depth perception in nature and depth creation on the picture-surface is the crucial problem in pictorial creation." ("The Painter and His Problems: A Manual Dedicated to Painting" in Exh. Cat., New York, Whitney Museum of American Art (and travelling), Hans Hofmann, 1990, p. 177)

Conjuntis Viribus is an elegant and refined pictorial summation of the economies of color and form that typifyed Hofmann’s practice. Conflating a reductive sensibility for outline and shape together with the apparently arbitrary process of action painting, this superb painting is a celebration of color as the foundation of visual communication. This sophisticated re-ordering of primary and secondary hues comprises a complex essay on color-theory and the optical and psychic effects of the chromatic palette. Moreover, Hofmann used both heavy impasto and thin brushstrokes to create an ethereal richness that leaves his working methods visible, imbuing his canvas with the intimate expressions of his creative process. Near the end of his prolific life, Hofmann delivered the summation of his vision with Conjuntis Viribus, drawing together the sum of his extraordinary experience into a canvas of alluring vitality.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York