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Sale: 409 / Modern Art and Sidelines of the German Avantgarde, Dec. 06. 2013 Lot 361

Lot description
Mann mit grüner Fahne. 1952.
Oil on canvas.
Wohlert 2504. Monogrammed and dated (in ligature) lower left. With label on stretcher, there inscribed with estate number "169" by a hand other than that of the artist. 145 x 64 cm (57 x 25,1 in).

PROVENANCE: Liesbeth Hofer, artist's widow and heirs.
Art dealer Gerd Köhrmann, estate Karl Hofer, Cologne (with label on stretcher).
Private collection Hesse.

EXHIBITION: Karl Hofer. Ölbilder, Zeichnungen, Druckgraphik der Jahre 1922 bis 1955. Baukunst - Galerie, Cologne 23 November, 1972 - 20 January, 1973, cat. no. 27.
Karl Hofer. Wiedergewonnene Verluste. Bilder aus den letzten Jahren, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, Munich 27 April - 23 June, 2001, p. 37 (with illu. in colors).

Karl Hofer was born in Karlsruhe on 11 October 1878 the son of a military musician. After an apprenticeship in C.F. Müller's court bookstore, he began to study at the Großherzoglich Badische Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe in 1897. Here he studied under Poetzelberger, Kalckreuth and Thoma until 1901. None of these teachers, however, were able to provide him with ideas for his ambitious striving for a new art form and he soon came under the influence of Arnold Böcklin. Hofer travelled to Paris in 1900 where he was greatly impressed by Henri Rousseau's naive painting. The art historian Julius Meier-Graefe introduced Hofer not only to private collections worth while seeing in Paris, but also drew his attention to Hans von Marées. As a result Hofer decided in 1903 to spend a couple of years in Rome. His painting, which was until then influenced by Böcklin's Symbolism, changed in favour of Marées' classic-Arcadian concept. In 1904 the Kunsthaus Zurich presented Hofer's first one-man show within the ‚Ausstellung moderner Kunstwerke', which was afterwards shown in an extended version at the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe and at the Folkwang-Museum in Hagen and in Weimar in 1906. From 1908 Hofer lived temporarily in Paris. The stay changed his style through dealing with influences of Cézanne, French Impressionists and El Greco. In 1913 the artist moved to Berlin. He was interned in France one year later and only returned to Germany in 1917. He accepted a post as a professor at the Kunstschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg in 1921. On the occasion of his 50th birthday a retrospective took place at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the ‚Berlin Secession' and Alfred Flechtheim's gallery in Berlin. His art was considered "degenerate" during the 'Third Reich' and he was dismissed from his teaching post in 1933/34. His works were exhibited in 1937 in the Munich exhibition 'Entartete Kunst'.

The statuary element, which gained increasing importance in Karl Hofer's later paintings, also determines this composition. The standard bearer making a forward step seems to pause for the moment. Calling reminiscence of Renaissance depictions of saints, it can be compared with image on a side panel of an altar for itssolitary appearance. They resemble the two donor figures ofAlbrecht Dürer's Paumgartner altarpiece, today in possessionof the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. However, the relaxed posture of Dürer's donor figures was replaced by a clear determination by Hofer. It lies close at hand to feel the resonance of a pugnacious motivation, as it is quite common with Hofer. The well-balanced triangular composition, which culminates in the flag's tip, underlines the clear expression of the composition in which all formal elements have been reduced. Karl Hofer's standard bearer seems to pace into an uncertain future, its interpretation is left up to the observer. But in context of its time of origin, which was characterized byHofer's disputes with the protagonists of abstraction, the standard bearer must be regarded a clear commitment to figurative painting. Theideaof the standard bearer had been worked up by Karl Hofer in several paintings from around1912/13, almost exclusively in compositions with many figures. An impressive example of this subject is in possession of the Municipal Art Collection Chemnitz.

Hofer lived in Berlin for the rest of his life. He was the director of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin. [KD].

Karl Hofer
Mann mit grüner Fahne, 1952.
Oil on canvas
€ 60,000 / $ 72,000
€ 64,660 / $ 77.592

(incl. 22% surcharge)

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