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Winter Auctions 24.11–25.11.2023

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 Image under artist's copyright.

Hofer, Karl
1878 Karlsruhe - 1955 Berlin.
«Blumenwerfende Mädchen (girls throwing flowers)».
Around 1924. Oil on canvas. Monogrammed lower left. Verso inscribed «A» and verso on the stretcher inscribed «[…]-Hofer» by hand as well as numbered «158/22» and «7.9.869» twice. Verso on the back of the frame a printed label of the Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, Stuttgart, numbered «1242».
H 46,7, W 35,8 cm (support). Gilt frame.
«I have never created a figuration according to the external nature of the accidental. [...] Man and the human form was and is the everlasting object of my representations.» Karl Hofer in: Karl Hofer, Von Lebensspuk und stiller Schönheit, Kunsthalle Emden, Cologne 2012, p. 4.
Karl, also Carl, Hofer is THE great painter of the human figure of German Expressionism, even though he never saw himself as an Expressionist: «The ecstasies of Expressionism were not for me.» ibid.
As a master student of Hans Thomas, Hofer is more a Berliner than a Karlsruhe pupil. But it is not the big city scenes that would interest him like Kirchner, nor the bucolic of Expressionism as in Pechstein's or Mueller's œuvre; the human, the purely human, is the subject of his painting. «Karl Hofer's great achievement undoubtedly lies in his figure painting. And here it is above all those one- or two-figure pictures that are convincing, in which the mostly young women or men confront us in an almost picture-filling manner.» Frank Schmidt, Vom ‹heilig Nüchternen›, Hofers Figurenauffassungen am Beispiel der Aktdarstellungen, in: ibid. Hofer, before his Berlin years, spent several years in Rome for study purposes. Here he met the most important German art historian of the time, Julius Meier-Graefe, who wrote about him in ‹Neue deutsche Römer›: «In the larger paintings one notices the earlier tempera painter, but not to the detriment of the pictures. The thin application, which lays the paint quite loosely, sometimes like flakes, on the flesh and only distinguishes the coarser matter of the small parts of the garments with coarser strokes, suits these softly exposed, very tonal figures admirably. One can imagine them painted by a bolder brush, much more powerful; but one understands and respects the prudence which, once in possession of the harmony, may not call it into question with exaggerated impositions.» quoted in: Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin (Ed.), Karl Hofer 1878 - 1955, Berlin 1978, pp. 71 - 72.
Karl Hofer, who only cautiously experimented with abstraction, remained faithful to the figurative throughout his entire artistic life. His pictorial motifs also recur again and again in his work, both in his strongest creative phase in the 1920s and 1930s and after the Second World War, which destroyed many of his works. Although completely apolitical in subject matter, Hofer's art was considered degenerate by the National Socialists. He himself regarded his art as German, which did not prevent his works from being shown in the propaganda exhibition ‹Entartete Kunst› in 1937 and his expulsion from the Prussian Academy in 1938. Nevertheless, he remained true to HIS painting and concentrated on nude painting as he had done in the 1920s:
«I occupy myself with the naked body not because I consider it more significant than otherwise, but because that is my disposition and because on this side lies my talent, and that is the main thing.» Karl Hofer in: Emden, p. 6.
Literature: Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett (Ed.), 22. Kunst-Auktion, Kunstliteratur, Kunstwerke des 15. - 20. Jahrhunderts, Ausstellung ausgewählter Werke im Württembergischen Kunstverein, 23. - 28. November 1955, Besichtigung im Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, Versteigerung am 29.11. - 01.12.1955, Stuttgart 1955, p. 108, No. 1242, plate 42.
Provenance: Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, auction 22, 30.11.1955, lot 1242; private collection Markgräflerland.
Catalogue raisonné: Wohlert 576.

Condition report  


hammer price: 60000,- EUR
(starting price: 40000,- EUR)

25.11.2023, approx. 4:33 pm