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Sale: 428 / Modern Art, Dec. 03./05. 2015 in Munich Lot 275

Lot description
Mädchen mit Laute. 1945.
Oil on canvas.
Wohlert 1875. Monogrammed (in ligature) and dated lower right. 80 x 62 cm (31.4 x 24.4 in).
Rear: Black Forest landscape with Hohentwiel (cf. Wohlert 1329).
Atmospheric genre illustration.

PROVENANCE: Galerie Walter Schüler, Berlin-Zehlendorf (with label on stretcher)
Private collection Berlin (directly acquired from previously mentioned around 1950, sever since in family ownership).

LITERATURE: H. Kotschenreuther. Karl Hofer, Maler und Seher, in: Film und Frau, November 1959, no. 15. with illu. on p. 9 .

Was it ignorance or just a neglection and lack of interest in the dramatic events of his times that led Karl Hofer to render such a calm and romantic subject in 1945? The unbowed continuity in his paintings is a fact, even in the times of isolation. The self-immerged lute player may also be seen as a metaphor for the end of an era that trampled an ideal of emotional self-reflection under feet. The self-contained composition takes up a subject that Karl Hofer had already used in 1935. And yet, striking differences can be observed. The lute player from 1935 is entirely absorbed by her play, the one from 1945 is lost in reverie, in a dream, like not from this world. In context of the events in 1945 that may have been an escape from the real world, as no surviving artist would have been able to deliver account thereof anyway. A second usage of the canvas is proof of the dire straits that Hofer was in in 1945. But the lute player may also be understood in a positive sense; in the continuity of emotionality in the face of an abominable cruelty all around and a hint at a hope for a peaceful future, in which respect and dignity would matter again. In January 1945 Karl Hofer wrote to Leopold Ziegler: "If I had known that you wanted to know whether I was working again, I would have let you known. Its the only thing that keeps me alive, I would not know what else I could find in this cesspit..In the past I used to think a lot about whether an artist could work on a remote island, without hope for a connection to the world. I have to say yes, as that is just what I am in." (Quote after: Renate Hartleb, Karl Hofer, Leipzig 1987, p. 58).
Karl Hofer
Mädchen mit Laute, 1945.
Oil on canvas
€ 140,000 / $ 168,000
€ 237,500 / $ 285.000

(incl. 25% surcharge)

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