Sale: 514 / Evening Sale, Dec. 11. 2020 in Munich Lot 223

 
223
Karl Hofer
Arbeitslose, 1932.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 300,000 - 400,000

 
$ 351,000 - 468,000

+
Lot description
Arbeitslose. 1932.
Oil on canvas.
Wohlert 988. Monogrammed (in ligature) and dated in lower right. Verso of the stretcher inscribed with the artist's name, the title "Arbeitslose" and "Familienbild". 167 x 172 cm (65.7 x 67.7 in).

• From the artist's estate.
• Consistent provenance.
• With an impressive 90 year long exhibition history and a large number of publications.
• Main work of museum quality and with striking dimensions.
• In 2018 part of the exhibition "Glanz und Elend in der Weimarer Republik" at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main.
• Haunting artistic comment on the political and social situation in Germany in the early 1930s
.

PROVENANCE: From the artist's estate (estate no. 383 (with a hand-numbered label on the stretcher), Wirnitzer list no. 376).
Baukunst Galerie, Cologne (commission, with a gallery label on the stretcher).
Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin (acquired from the estate, with two gallery labels on the stretcher).
Collection Deutsche Bank (acquired from aforementioned in 1986).

EXHIBITION: Marc Chagall, Karl Hofer, Franz Marc, Marianne von Werefkin, Kunsthaus Zürich, January 13.1 - February 13, 1935; Mannheimer Kunstverein, March 1935; Freiburger Kunstverein, May to June 1935, cat. no. 61, p. 5.
Karl Hofer, on occasion of his 75th birthday, Berliner Festwochen, Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hardenbergstraße 33, Berlin, September 12 - October 15, 1953, cat. no. 22 (stretcher with a numbered label).
Commemorative Exhibition for Karl Hofer, Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Berlin-Charlottenburg, October 11 - November 15, 1956; Badischer Kunstverein u. Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, December 9, 1956 - January 6, 1957, cat. no. 65 (with a numbered exhibition label on the stretcher).
Retrospective: Karl Hofer. Ölbilder, Aquarelle, Handzeichnungen, Druckgraphik, Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, January 20 - April 5, 1975, cat. no. 9 (with illu.).
Karl Hofer 1878-1955, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Berlin, April 16 - June 14, 1978; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, August 1 - September 17, 1978, cat. no. 83, p. 172, (with color illu. on p. 114).
On occasion of Karl Hofer's 100th birthday (October 11, 1878 - April 3, 1955). Ölbilder der Jahre 1918-1955, Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, from September 4, 1978, cat. no. 10.
Karl Hofer. Malerei, Grafik, Zeichnung, Staatliche Galerie Moritzburg, Halle (Saale), November 26, 1978 - February 25, 1979, cat. no. 44, p. 147 (with illu., no. 57, p. 106).
Die Figur im Werk von Karl Hofer, Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Septemer 17 - November 13, 1982, cat. no. 2 (here erroneously dated 1933).
1933. Wege zur Diktatur, Berlin, January 9 - February 10, 1983; Städtische Galerie Schloss Oberhausen, February 27 - April 10, 1983; Culture Palace Lyudmila Zhivkova, Sofia, September 28 - October 26, 1983, cat. no. 39, p. 415 (with color illu. before p. 61).
Karl Hofer 1878-1955, Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin, January 26 - March 16, 1985, cat. no. 2 (with full-page color illu.).
Deutscher Kunsthandel im Schloss Charlottenburg, Orangerie, Berlin, September 12 - September 29, 1985, cat. no. 38/2, p. 215, (with color illu.).
Ich und die Stadt. Mensch und Großstadt in der deutschen Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Berlinische Galerie at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, August 15 - November 22, 1987, cat. no. 86, p. 204 (with color illu. on p. 205).
Der Traum von einer neuen Welt. Berlin 1910-1933, Internationale Tage Ingelheim, Museum Altes Rathaus, Ingelheim, April 23 - June 4, 1989, cat. no. 161, p. 52 (with color illu.), pp. 54 and 217 (with illu.).
Karl Hofer, Schloss Cappenberg, Selm, September 19 - December 15, 1991, pp. 103 (with color illu.) and 183.
Karl Hofer. Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Schloss Wolfsburg, January 19 - March 15, 1992, cat. no. 18.
Karl Hofer. Anmut, Elegie und äußerste Härte (exhibition on occasion of the 50th anniversary of the artist's death), Galerie Pels-Leusden, Berlin, April 5 - May 21, 2005, pp. 82f. (with color illu.).
25. Fünfundzwanzig Jahre Sammlung Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, April 30 - June 19, 2005, p. 82 (with color illu., no. 7).
Armut. Perspektiven in Kunst und Gesellschaft, Stadtmuseum Simeonstift, Trier, April 10 - July 31, 2011.
Glanz und Elend in der Weimarer Republik. Von Otto Dix bis Jeanne Mammen, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, October 27, 2017 - February 25, 2018, p. 71 (with full-page color illu.).

LITERATURE: Karl Hofer im Mannheimer Kunstverein, in: Pfälzische Rundschau (Ludwigshafen), March 5, 1935.
Mannheimer Kunstverein, in: Hakenkreuzbanner (Mannheim), March 7, 1935.
Koch, Neue Arbeiten von Karl Hofer, in: Neues Mannheimer Volksblatt, March 8, 1935.
Karl Hofer. Ein alemannischer Maler, in: NSZ Rheinfront (Ludwigshafen), no. 58, March 9, 1935.
Karl Hofer. Der Maler unserer Zeit, in: Der Rundfunk (Berlin), January 1946, no. 6 (February 3), p. 2 (with illu.).
Adolf Jannasch, Carl Hofer, in: Aussaat, 2. 1947/48, pp. 160 and 163.
Christa Rotzoll, Wegstrecken eines Malers, in: Mannheimer Morgen, no. 236, October 10, 1953, p. 24.
Lexikon der Kunst, vol. 2, Leipzig 1971, p. 303.
Ursula Feist, Karl Hofer, Berlin 1977, p. 14.
Hans-Jörg Schirmbeck, Carl Hofer, Berlin 1974, pp. 10 and 28.
Heinz Stephan, Roboterhafte Fratzen am grünen Tisch, in: Kölnische Rundschau, no. 21, January 25, 1975, p. 19.
Gottfried Sello, Karl Hofer, in: Die Zeit (Hamburg), no. 6, January 31, 1975, p. 13.
Eo Plunien, Abschied von einer bösen Legende, in: Die Welt (Hamburg), no. 50, February 28, 1975, p. 20 and Berlin edition, p. 17.
Werner Tamms, Ernte eines tragischen Lebens, in: Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (Essen), no. 65, March 18, 1975.
Ida Katherine Rigby, Karl Hofer, New York 1976, pp. 195 and 290.
Barbara Dieterich, Anklage und Identität, in: Oberbadisches Volksblatt (Lörrach), no. 114, May 20/21, 1978.
Norbert Stratmann, Karl Hofers aufrechter Stand, in: Deutsche Volkszeitung (Frankfurt a. M.), no. 21, May 25, 1978, p. 14.
Rudolf Joeckle, Die freudlosen Bilder Karl Hofers, in: Die Rheinpfalz (Ludwigshafen), no. 178, August 5, 1978.
Dieter Hoffmann, Die Arbeitslosen und die süßen Mädchen, in: Frankfurter Neue Presse, no. 179, August 18, 1978, p. 6 (with illu.).
Franz Josef. Wehinger, Der Mensch und das Menschliche, in: Offenburger Tageblatt, no. 177, August 18, 1978 (with illu.).
Gertrud Waldecker, Die bleichen Gleichnisse einer schlimmen Zeit, in: Badische Neueste Nachrichten (Karlsruhe), no. 190, August 19, 1978, p. 13.
Andreas Franzke, Karl Hofer exhibition, in: Pantheon, 36.1978, issue 4 (Oct./Nov./Dec.), p. 336 (with illu.).
Barbara Dieterich, Außenseiter der deutschen Moderne, in: Salzburger Nachrichten, no. 233, October 7/8, 1978, p. 21.
100. Geburtstag des deutschen Malers und Grafikers Carl Hofer, in: Bibliograph. Kalenderblätter der Berliner Stadtbibliothek, 20.1978, no. 10, October 11, p. 1.
Dietmar Eisold, Kraftvolle, eindrucksvolle Bildsprache, in: Neues Deutschland (Berlin), no. 300, December 20, 1978, p. 4.
Günther Ott, Ein neues Weltbild der Menschlichkeit, in: Kölner Stadtanzeiger, no. 217, September 18, 1982, p. 24.
Doris Schreiber, Totenmasken im Spiel der Liebe, in: Kölnische Rundschau, no. 222, September 24, 1982, p. 16.
Eberhard Roters (editor), Berlin 1910-1933, Die visuellen Künste, Fribourg/Berlin 1983, p. 141 (with illu., p. 142).
Werner Langer, In stoischer Spannung, in: Der Tagesspiegel (Berlin), no. 11998, March 10, 1985, p. 5.
Karl Hofer, in: Weltkunst, 55.1985, issue 4 (February 15), p. 340; p. 499 (with color illu.).
Annedore Müller-Hofstede, Orangerie ’85, in: Weltkunst, 55.1985, no. 17 (September 1), p. 2324 (titled "Arbeitslos").
Favorisiert: Der Klassizismus, in: Handelsblatt (Düsseldorf), no. 188, October 1, 1985, p. 19.
Udo Perina, Im Schatten der großen Banken, in: Zeitmagazin (Hamburg), no. 45, November 2, 1990, p. 103.
Ex. cat. Felix Nussbaum, Verfemte Kunst - Exilkunst - Widerstandskunst, Osnabrück 1990, p. 225 (as comparison).
Ralf Stiftel, Visionen von Masken und Ruinen, in: Westfälischer Anzeiger (Hamm), no. 219, September 20, 1991 (with illu.) and in: Soester Anzeiger.
Höllenfahrt eines Expressionisten durch sein Zeitalter, in: Hellweger Anzeiger (Unna), no. 232, October 3, 1991 (with illu.).
Michael Vaupel, Außergewöhnliche Hofer-Ausstellung auf Schloss Cappenberg, in: Westfalenspiegel, 40.1991, no. 4 (Oct./Nov./Dec.), p. 61 (with illu.).
Karl Hofer, Malerei hat eine Zukunft, Leipzig/Weimar 1991 (with color illu., no. 26, p. 457).
Ausstellung Karl Hofer auf Schloss Cappenberg, in: Rundblick (Hamm), October 16, 1991 (with illu.).
Karl Hofer, Ich habe das Meine gesagt!, Berlin 1995, p. 12 (with illu.).
Ludwig Zerull, Über Karl Hofer, in: Künstler, 41/1998, issue 4, p. 8 (with colro illu., no. 9, p. 10).
Deutsche Bank AG (editor), Man in the Middle. Collection Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt am Main 2002, p. 103 (with color illu.).
"[There has] never been an art that outlived its time which was not a fully valid expression of the contemporary spirit."
Karl Hofer, Kunst und Politik, 1948, quote from: ex. cat. Karl Hofer. Von Lebensspuk und stiller Schönheit, Emden 2012.

Called up: December 11, 2020 - ca. 17.40 h +/- 20 min.

Essay
Karl Hofer's incomparable artistic work
Karl Hofer is one of the great mavericks in art of the 20th century. His paintings are often assigned to Expressive Realism, but also contain influences from Classicism and Romanticism, while, owing to their strict formalism and the clear, objective presentation, as well as their social comments, are particularly close to the art of New Objectivity. Hofer sees his figures in a very own characteristic form. There is always something immobile and sculptural about them, which also is a an elementary component of the overall composition in the work offered here.
Hofer lets the emaciated, expressionless and even rigid faces with the unhealthy light skin color stand out against the threatening dark background and thus directs the viewer's gaze to the people in the picture, to their fate and thus to the overall political situation in Germany in the early 1930s.
Germany in crisis
By the end of the 1920s the unemployed figure in the Weimar Republic had risen to 1.5 million. The so-called "Black Thursday" on Wall Street in October 1929, however, led to a full-blown global economic crisis just a little later, which - together with the deflation and austerity policies prevailing at the time in the course of reparations payments after the First World War - let unemployment rates skyrocket and weakened the already ailing German economy continues to weaken. In 1931 the number of job seekers had already tripled and in 1932 - the year the work offered here was created - around 5.6 million people were unemployed. With his work, Hofer delivered an extremely topical account of the social situation at that point.
The prophetic picture: Dark premonition of the looming apocalyptic events
The view of today's observer can, however, recognize far more than just an account of the political situation at that time. The men lying and sitting in the dirt with their patched clothes and grave expressions on faces marked by life are surrounded by bare, almost skeletal trees. Without any leafy green, without any indication of an inherent fertility or the recurring spring, they frame the group like a theater backdrop and stretch their long, thin branches over the already oppressive scenery. The background is a dark, cloudy sky, through which not a single illuminating and warming ray of sun penetrates the scene. Looking ahead, Hofer seems to be conveying a gloomy premonition, an indication of the political crisis that immediately followed, of the calamity and the almost unimaginable apocalyptic tragedy. At this time the system of parliamentary democracy was already beginning to crack, crumbling and finally collapsing when Hitler came to power. On January 30, 1933, he was appointed Reich Chancellor.
Defamation, oppression and resistance
Hofer expressed his criticism of the emerging fascists on several occasions. Pointing out to the danger they pose, he saw himself increasingly exposed to political attacks. At this point in time, Hofer was at the height of his career. Since 1922 he had been teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. In 1928 he was appointed board member of the Berlin Secession and also became member of the extended board of the Deutsche Künstlerbund (German Association of Artists). In 1929 he joined the Senate of the Prussian Academy of the Arts. At that time his works were on display in 27 museums. His success came to an abrupt end in June 1933, when he was suspended as university professor, and in 1937 more than 300 of his works were labeled "degenerate art" and were removed from public collections and museums, nine of them were part of the Munich exhibition "Degenerate Art". The Reich Chamber of Culture imposed an occupational and exhibition ban on him. However, the artist continued to work and resisted repression and professional denunciation.

A masterpiece of German art history

With the work offered here, its elaborate, almost classicist figure composition, the delicately worked-out facial expressions and the symbolism inherent to it, Hofer created an important historical comment on the fragile and harrowing situation in his home country in 1932, a year of both decisive and fateful significance. In the striking portrayal of poverty and hopelessness, of fear and self-abandonment, as well as in his subliminal, auspicious hint of what follows, Hofer not only paints a significant artistic testimony, but also one of the great masterpieces of German Art of the 20th century. [CH]
 


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right apportionment for Karl Hofer "Arbeitslose"
This lot can only be purchased subject to regular taxation.

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

Resale right apportionment:
Objects made by artists who have not died at least 70 years ago are subject to a resale right apportionment of 2% plus statutory sales tax.