Hinduknabe. Um 1911 /12. Oil on canvas. Wohlert 222. Monogrammed in lower left (in ligature). Verso of stretcher with the artist's hand-written address and with a label with the inscription "Darmstadt" . 128.5 x 80.5 cm (50.5 x 31.6 in). A charcoal drawing from 1911 with the same subject "Inder unter Palmen" is also in existence. Charcoal drawing 1911. (Karl Hofer. exhibition catalog Staatliche Kunsthalle, Berlin 1978 cat. no. 225, illu. on p. XXI). This is one of Hofer's first paintings in which his figures attained their characteristic calm form and which shows his typical canon of colors.
EXHIBITION: Karl Hofer - Karl Hofer, 1878 - 1955: Ölbilder, Zeichnungen, Lithographien., Frankfurter Westend Galerie 1974, no.1 (there dated "ca 1908") Karl Hofer. Von Lebensspuk und stiller Schönheit. Kunsthalle Emden, February 11 – June 17, 2012, (illu. p. 22) 2013-2018: As permanent loan at Hamburger Kunsthalle, where it was on display as part of the permanent exhibition. Auf dem Weg zur Erleuchtung - Der Indien-Mythos in der westlichen Kultur. MASI, Museo d'arte della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, September 24, 2017 to January 21, 2018 (illu. on p. 349).
LITERATURE: Christoph Otterbeck, Europa verlassen: Künstlerreisen am Beginn des 20.Jahrhunderts, Cologe 2007, pp.187-195 (Karl Hofer in Indien (1910/11 and 1913). "I finally found what I had been desperately looking for over years: Models in free and delightful situations" Karl Hofer in a letter to Theodor Reinhart from December 6, 1910
Two trips to India in 1911 and 1913 had a much stronger influence on Hofer than the French capital did. His patron, Dr. Theodor Reinhart from Winterthur, whose company had several branches on the Malabar Coast, had paid for these trips. Hofer had an idea of what these journeys could possibly mean to him, when he wrote "Perhaps it is not clear what gain it might mean for me if I possibly find what Delacroix had found in Morocco." Julius Maier Graefe makes a comparison with van Gogh's visit to Arles, when he describes the lasting impact these trips had on Karl Hofer's work as follows: "The Malabar Coast became an Arles for that tenacious utopian and his tough skins melted like snow in the sun. [..] In the tropics he approached French Sensualism. [..] The exotic world made Paris a mediocre norm, unleashed his senses, deepened and simplified the impressions gained in Paris. He familiarized himself with Greco's mysticism on the Pepper Coast." (Julius Meier-Graefe, in: Karl Hofer 1878 - 1955, ex. cat Staatl. Kunsthalle, Berlin 1978, p. 89). This is one of the first works in Karl Hofer's oeuvre with the characteristic, deeply self-absorbed person as motif. The austere, clearly defined forms and the poeple depicted engrossed in thought, which would become so characteristic of his later works, allow for a delimitation of the figure in this early work, which laid the basis for an artistic path that was far from any kind of cheap gallery play. [EH]