Porträt von zwei jungen Frauen. 1943. Oil on canvas. Wohlert 1674. Monogrammed and dated upper right. 71 x 56 cm (27.9 x 22 in). [KD].
Hofer's unique portraits of young women count among his most striking creations. Owed to its delicate coloring, this work is a particularly fine example of his portrait art.
PROVENANCE: Shepherd Gallery, New York. Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer, Munich, auction 24, 28 - 29 November, 1977, cat. no. 954 (with illu. in black and white). Private collection Berlin (acquired from previously mentioned in 1977).
EXHIBITION: Karl Hofer 1878 - 1955, Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, 16 April - 14 June, 1978/Badischer Kunstverein e.V. Karlsruhe, 1 August - 17 September, 1978, cat. p. 174, no. 164. Karl Hofer. Bilder, Zeichnungen und Grafik, Lippische Gesellschaft für Kunst e.V. Detmold, 17 May - 14 June, 1998, cat. no. 7.
LITERATURE: The Annual Art Sales Index, 1977/78, vol. 1, p. 406. Karl Hofer. Malerei hat eine Zukunft, Leipzig/Weimar 1991, illu. 32 before p. 225. Karl Hofer. Bilder, Zeichnungen und Grafik, in: Lippe aktuell, 19 May 1998 (with illu.) .
A large number of portraits that Hofer made after models have a strange distanced effect on the observer. However, his true mastery in portrait art hides behind a rather cool two-dimensionality. He visualized a world of inner tensions that reveals in the depicted persons' reserved gestures. This is what makes for the character of these later portraits, which in their overall composition emanate an almost religious aura. The lack of any kind of sensuality may be owed to the times they were made in, but Hofer had made inner spiritual conditions his prime means of expression in the 1920s. The harsh charm that becomes obvious in this work is proof of Hofer's great mastery in portrait art, a mastery that would coin his entire later period of creation.