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  • Provenance

    Estate of the Artist (from 1966)
    Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust (acquired from the above in 1996)
    Ameringer Yohe Fine Art, New York (acquired in 2007)
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2007

  • Exhibited

    The Arts Club of Chicago; Hans Hofmann, November 3 - 25, 1944, no. 27 (dated 1944); then traveled to Milwaukee Art Institute, January 1- 14, 1945,
    Nuremberg, Fränkische Galerie am Marientor; Cologne, Kölnischer Kunstverein; Berlin, Kongreßhalle; Munich, Städtische Galerie München Lenbachpalais, Hans Hofmann, April 8, 1962 - January 13, 1963, cat. no. 7, n.p. (as Die geheime Quelle)

  • Literature

    Cynthia Goodman, Hans Hofmann, New York, 1986, p. 55 (dated 1944)
    Cynthia Goodman, "Hans Hofmann: The Breakthrough Years", Provincetown Arts, vol. 2, no. 1, July 1986, p. 7 (dated 1944)
    Cynthia Goodman, Hans Hofmann, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1990, p. 54 (dated 1944)
    Suzi Villiger, ed., Hans Hofmann Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Volume II: 1901-1951, London, 2014, no. P354, p. 211 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Secret Source, 1941, is a superb example of Hofmann’s vibrant Abstract Expressionist style. The presence of converging and diverging forms in combination with a bold color palette epitomizes the style of the works Hofmann created during World War II. During this time, Hofmann felt that art acted as a respite for the soul: “Art always provided an antidote to adverse situations, whether global or personal” (Hans Hofmann, quoted in Cynthia Goodman, Hans Hofmann, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1990, p. 27). Created during a time of uncertainty and unrest, the present work was meant to inspire hope for the artist himself as well as the viewer. In its composition, swathes of color and intersecting lines converse with one another, forming an arrangement that is at once thoughtful and deliberate in intent, as well as riddled with chance abstractions.

    The nucleus of The Secret Source is a circular form around which dancing colors circulate. The variety of geometric shapes, from soft circular forms to exacting triangles, challenges the eye to see something different upon each inspection. The bold, dramatic colors possess a sense of vertical movement, their intensity dissipates from top to bottom as pure white paint refocuses the viewer’s eye, forcing the gaze to take a circular journey throughout the composition.

    The title of the work, The Secret Source, implies that there are clues within the piece for the viewers’ investigation. Hofmann believed that titles could convey the artist’s mood, or perhaps serve as an indication of how he or she would regard the piece. In fact, Hofmann often titled his works after he finished painting them. As Cynthia Goodman espoused, “If titles are an accurate indication of ‘personality’ and ‘temperament,’ Hofmann’s titles, most often determined by the artist after a work was completed, reinforce his statement” (Cynthia Goodman, "Hans Hofmann: The Breakthrough Years", Provincetown Arts, vol. 2, no. 1, July 1986, p. 23).

185

The Secret Source

signed with the artist's initials and dated "III 8 41 h h" lower right
oil on panel
46 1/2 x 36 7/8 in. (118.1 x 93.7 cm.)
Painted in 1941.

Estimate
$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $225,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 14 November 2018