Jul 23, 2007

Smaragd Red and Germinating Yellow

Smaragd Red and Germinating Yellow


Hans Hofmann

(American, 1880–1966)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 144 x 106 x 4.5 cm (56 11/16 x 41 3/4 x 1 3/4 in.); Unframed: 139.7 x 101.6 cm (55 x 40 in.)

Contemporary Collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art 1960.57



Smaragd Red and Germinating Yellow shows Hofmann's ability to suggest space, movement, formal structure, and visual tension with color. His works are filled with the depiction of opposites, juxtaposing two-dimensional surface plane with the illusion of shallow three-dimensional space. In this painting, he included only two clearly defined rectangles, a favorite motif. The most persistent is an acid yellow one surrounded by a turbulent field of heavily encrusted opaque color. These flat planes, along with the broadly brushed, built-up areas of paint, appear to move forward or recede. The resolution of this visual tension was achieved through the artist's celebrated principle of composition—called "push, pull"—in which various visual conflicts within the work were harmoniously balanced.

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