HANS HOFMANN | Frolicking



signed and dated 65; signed, titled and dated 1965 on the reverse
oil on canvas
72 by 60 in. 182.9 by 152.4 cm.

This work is numbered M-34 and M-0034 and stamped by The Estate of Hans Hofmann on the stretcher.

Price Available Upon Request

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Estate of the artist
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Gosman, Toledo (acquired from the above in 1969)
Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio (acquired from the above in 1982)
Sotheby's, New York, May 14, 2003, lot 129
Private Collection
Ameringher Yohe Fine Art, New York
Riva Yares Gallery, Santa Fe
Acquired by the present owner from the above

New York, Kootz Gallery, Hans Hofmann at Kootz, February 1966
New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Hans Hofmann-Ten Major Works, January 1969, no. 7, illustrated
Syracuse, Everson Museum of Art, Hans Hofmann, February - April 1969
Edmonton Art Gallery; Winnipeg Art Gallery; Toronto, David Mirvish Gallery, Masters of the Sixties, May - July 1972, illustrated
Naples Museum of Art, Hans Hofmann: A Retrospective, 2003, no. 66, p. 24, illustrated
Chicago, KN Gallery, Hans Hofmann: Exuberant Eye, May - June 2007

Cynthia Goodman, Hans Hofmann, Berkeley, 1986, p. 98
Suzi Villiger, ed., Hans Hofmann: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Volume III (1952-1965), Farnham, 2014, no. P1587, p. 474, illustrated

"The conversations I was interested in were about community, fluidity, about a merchant dynamic, and the details that point to a genus of change." - Mark Bradford

Widely regarded as one of the most influential and innovative painters of the mid-20th century, Hans Hofmann was also an influential teacher who taught and inspired a subsequent generation of artists that included Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner and Joan Mitchell. In 1958, Hofmann gave up teaching to focus solely on his art, beginning the period in which he produced his best works. Painted in 1965, Frolicking is a vibrant and energetic, large-scale work from this period.

Frolicking is a luminous and elegant counterpoint to Hofmann’s “slab paintings” from the 1960s. The latter are defined by thick paint layers and dense compositions whereas Frolicking is an expansive composition that is full of light and space. Frolicking has a vibrant and energetic sensibility as the calligraphic dashes and atmospheric spreads of paint dance across the surface, anchored by the rectilinear forms. It is a study of tension and balance and a superbly distilled composition that references the “slab paintings” but has an entirely different mood, demonstrating Hofmann’s breadth. Hofmann creates space in this work through his own distinctive “push pull” theory of painting - the areas of thickly applied color are juxtaposed with the flat surface of the canvas to create a sense of boundless depth in which colors and forms alternately approach and recede, reverberating across the painting’s surface. Here, Hofmann is embracing the sheer brilliance of color and its ability to express emotion. “What my paintings say is poetry” Hofmann said. “This is poetry expressed in color"" (H. Hoffman, quoted in I. Jaffe, ""A Conversation with Hans Hofmann,"" Artforum, vol. 9, Jan. 1971, p. 10).

William Seitz wrote of Hofmann’s importance in the catalogue for the artist’s 1963 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York: “whether judged by his work of the last twenty-five years, by his theory of painting, by his method of teaching, by his ebullient personality, or by his intensely active working procedure, he is among the most dynamic painters of his time. Nature, life, and art to him imply energy and movement before anything else” (Hans Hofmann, exh. cat. Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1963, p. 7). Frolicking wonderfully manifests this energy and movement."

For all enquires, please contact Liz.Sterling@sothebys.com

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