L. von Hofmann
* 1861 Darmstadt
† 1945 Pillnitz
Ludwig von Hofmann was born in Darmstadt in 1861. His father Karl Hofmann was prime minister of the Grand Duchy of Hesse from 1872 to 1876 and was member of Bismarck‘s Cabinet as trade secretary, in 1882 he received a title of nobility. Ludwig von Hofmann began to study art under his uncle Heinrich Hofmann at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts in 1883, in 1886 he transferred to Karlsruhe, where Ferdinand Keller was among his teachers. In 1889 Ludwig von Hofmann completed his studies in Paris at the renowned Académie Julian. In Paris he became acquainted with the local avant-garde and was a strong admirer of the works from Puvis de Chavannes and Paul-Albert Besnards.
As of 1890 Ludwig von Hofmann lived in Berlin where he had his own studio. In 1892 he was one of the founding members of the artist group “Die XI“, was an active part of the Berlin art scene, making contributions to various contemporary tendencies, and was acquainted with Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Walter Leistikow, Franz Skarbina, and Max Klinger.
In 1892 Ludwig von Hofmann encountered the works of the naturalistic painter Hans von Marées, an encounter that would have decisive influence on his own work. Between 1894 and 1900 Ludwig von Hofmann spent a lot of time traveling, predominantly to Italy where he stayed in Rome for a longer period. As of 1895 he made illustrations for the acclaimed magazine Pan, which had crucial importance for the spread of the ideas of Art Nouveau. In 1898 Ludwig von Hofmann became member of the Berlin Secession. In 1903 he followed a call to become professor at the Weimar Saxon Grand Ducal Art School where he came in contact with the artistic and literary avant-garde around Harry Graf Kessler and Henry van de Velde, he also became a key member of the movement “Neues Weimar“. In Weimar Ludwig von Hofmann met the writer Gerhart Hauptmann with whom he went on a journey to Greece in 1907. The same year he executed a mural for the lobby of the Neues Theater in Weimar, in 1909 for the assembly hall at Jena University. As of 1916 Ludwig von Hofmann began teaching at Dresden Academy, where he held the post as head of the Class for Monumental Painting until 1931. The commission for the decoration of the reading room at the German National Library in Leipzig (1919/20) fell in that area. Apart from Ludwig von Hofmann‘s oeuvre of oil paintings, he also created a vast graphic oeuvre that comprises many illustrations and portfolios.
Ludwig von Hofmann‘s works adopt inspiration from various tendencies of contemporary art such as Historism, Symbolism and Art Nouveau. Light-flooded Arcadian landscapes with mostly idealized male and female nudes in harmony with nature are his most characteristic motifs.
Ludwig von Hofmann died in Pillnitz near Dresden 1945.