Sale: 502 / Modern Art II, July 18. 2020 in Munich Lot 119002690

Karl Hofer
Tropisches Bad, Um 1913.
Oil on canvas
€ 60,000 - 80,000

$ 68,400 - 91,200

Lot description
Tropisches Bad. Um 1913.
Oil on canvas.
Wohlert 257. Monogrammd in lower right. 64 x 68 cm (25.1 x 26.7 in).

• One of the rare exotic compositions made in context of Hofer's journey through India.
• Bright early work, particularly convincing for its closed composition.
• Up until 1937 the work used to be in the collection of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne (no restitution claims)

PROVENANCE: Max Meirowsky, Cologne (until 1922).
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne (gifted from aforementioned, 1922-1937).
State ownership (1937-1940, number 14782 on "degenerate art" index).
Galerie Fischer, Luzern, Gemälde und Plastiken moderner Meister aus deutschen Museen, June 30, 1939, lot 49, with illu. (unsold).
Bernhard A. Böhmer, Güstrow (1940).
Presumably estate of Bernhard A. Böhmer, Güstrow (1945).
Presumably Wilma Zelck, Rostock/Berlin/Hamburg (admistrator of aforementioned estate).
Private collection Northern Germany (presumably acquired from aforementioned).
Ever since in possession of the family.

EXHIBITION: Mai-Ausstellung, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel 1916, p. 10, no. 118.
Carl Hofer, Erna Pinner, Albert Spethmann, Kunstsalon Ludwig Schames. Frankfurt a. M. 1917, leaflet, no. 6.

LITERATURE: (Selection) (number 14782 on "degenerate art" index).
Museum der Gegenwart, 2. 1931/32, issue 3, p. 135.
Galerie Theodor Fischer, Lucerne, auction cat. June 30, 1939, p. 30, no. 49, with illu. on p. 31.
Kunstpreisverzeichnis, 1.1939/40, p. 38, Nr. 40.
P. O. Rave, Kunstdiktatur im Dritten Reich, Hamburg 1949, p. 84.
Franz Roh, "Entartete" Kunst, Kunstbarbarei im Dritten Reich, Hanover 1962, p. 210.
Evelyn Weiss, Katalog der Gemälde des 20. Jahrhunderts, die älteren Generationen bis 1915 im Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - mit Teilen der Sammlung Ludwig - und im Kunstgewerbemuseum, Cologne 1974, p. 189, illu. 317.
Uta Gerlach-Laxner, die "Entartete Kunst" im Wallraf-Richartz-Museum und die Kunstpolitik der Nationalsozialisten, in: Kölner Museums Bulletin, issue 4,1987, pp. 15 and 22.
Stephanie Barron (editor), "Entartete Kunst". Das Schicksal der Avantgarde im Nazi-Deutschland, ex. cat. Berlin, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin 1992. p. 157.
Gesa Jeuthe, Die Moderne unter dem Hammer. Zur "Verwertung" der "entarteten" Kunst durch die Luzerner Galerie Fischer 1939, in: Uwe Fleckner (editor), Angriff auf die Avantgarde. Kunst und Kunstpolitik im Nationalsozialismus, Berlin 2007, pp. 189-305, p. 273.
"I could not get enough of the impressions of the country and its people. The coconut palm is the all-dominant tree on this coast, its filigree and airy leaves shiver in even the slightest breeze. The soil is blazing red, a red that turns into pure vermilion in sunset."
Karl Hofer, 1953, quoet after: Karl Hofer, ex. cat. Kunsthalle Emden 2012, p.18.

Karl Hofer committed his entire artistic creation to the depiction of man. His timeless melancholic view of man would soon make for Hofer’s breakthrough and eventually earned him a permanent place in 20\up6 th century German art history. Right after the painter had reached the peak of his artistic career he faced harsh criticism from the National Socialists, while, on contrary, art critics of the post-war era criticized his art for being out-of-date in context of upcoming abstract tendencies. Hofer’s figure pictures made in the course of his two journeys through India, which are of decisive relevance for his inimitable style, are very rare today. The memoirs from 1953 deliver an account of his first stay in India and almost seem like a description of our painting "Tropisches Bad", as he describes the "delicate and airy leaves" of the coconut palm and the bright red soil as the predominant motifs found on the Indian coast. With financial aid from the Swiss industrialist and collector Theodor Reinhart, Hofer embarked on his first five-month journey through India in October 1910. However, Hofer apparently destroyed most of the works he had made there before his return to Germany. In February 1913 he went to India again. This colorful painting "Tropisches Bad", which is particularly impressive for the completeness of its composition, must have come into existence in context of this second trip. The artistic focus is not solely put on the representation of the nudes but rather on the impressive formal harmony of the human bodies and the exotic nature they are surrounded by. The red turban and the red soil of the coastline make for a marvelous color accentuation and put the composition’s exotic elements, next to the palm leaves, at the center of the composition. The painting "Tropisches Bad" had been part of the collection of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne since 1922 and fell victim to the Nazi’s “Degenerate Art” museum lootings in 1937, just as it was the case with a lot of other of Hofer’s works. Many of the confiscated works were destroyed or sold abroad in exchange for foreign currency through the Galerie Fischer in Lucerne or art dealers like Böhmer and Gurlitt. In this light it is all the more fortunate that this early Hofer painting became part of a Northern German private collection soon after the war where it would remain up until today. [JS]

Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right apportionment for Karl Hofer "Tropisches Bad"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation.

Differential taxation:
Hammer prices up to € 500,000: 32 % buyer's premium
Hammer prices above € 500,000: for the share up to € 500,000: 32%, for the share above € 500,000: 27% buyer's premium
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer prices up to € 500,000: 25 % buyer's premium plus statutory sales tax Hammer prices above € 500,000: for the share up to € 500,000: 25%, for the share above € 500.000: 20% buyer's premium, each plus statutory sales tax

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Resale right apportionment:
Objects made by artists who have not died at least 70 years ago are subject to a resale right apportionment of 1.5% plus statutory sales tax.