Im grünen Kleid. 1943. Oil on panel. Wohlert 1643. Upper right monogrammed (in ligature) and dated, scratched into the wet paint. 68 x 49.3 cm (26.7 x 19.4 in).
PROVENANCE: From the artist's estate (no. 225). Private collection. Galerie Rosenbach, Hanover. Private collection North Rhine--Westphalia.
EXHIBITION: Karl Hofer und die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts. Museum für Bildende Künste, Leipzig 1948. Karl Hofer. Galerie Henning, Halle/Saale, 1949, cat. no. 4 with illu.
LITERATURE: Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg, 214th auction, 1976, lot 637, with illu. Galerie Gerda Bassenge, Berlin, 29th auction, 1977, lot 1308 with illu. J. Fischer, Heilbronn, 56th auction,1990, lot 735 with illu. Zwischen Tradition und Moderne. Galerie Rosenbach, Hanover, cat. 42/1990, page 7, no. 3 with color illu. "I have never created a form of figuration from pure coincidence. This explains why I was never really touched by Impressionism. The frenzy of Expressionism, however, was not really in my line, either. Man and the humane always have and always will be object of my depiction.“ (Source: Henkel, Katharina: Karl Hofer. Vom Lebensspuk und stiller Schönheit, Cologne 2012, p. 14.)
Trying to find any notion of severe actionism in portraits by Karl Hofer is a waste of effort. Hofer saw his models from his very individual formally reduced perspective. He was an absolute stranger to any attempts in creating special optical effects. The purpose of his figures’ formal closeness is to sense their emotions by adding an expressive notion of melancholia. From that perspective his portraits are landscapes of the soul, which show a pictorial intention of unrivaled virtuosity, a characteristic feature of Hofer’s entire artistic creation. The subject of this work goes back to an earlier composition from1939. As far as the overall arrangement is concerned, it is quite similar, however, with regards to dynamic it is much stronger. The almost statuary aspect, which is common feature of almost all of Hofer’s portraits, is key element of composition in the version from1943 and serves to visualize Hofer’s prevailing disposition during those difficult years. The reduced coloring, here in form of the gray-green dress, is additional allusion to Hofer’s quest for a homogenization of the composition. [KD/SM]