HOFER, KARL. Marian Davis [introduction]: KARL HOFER [Painting, Drawings And Prints]. Pittsburgh, PA: Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute, 1940.

Prev Next

Loading Updating cart...

Painting, Drawings And Prints

Marian Davis [introduction]

Marian Davis [introduction]: KARL HOFER [Painting, Drawings And Prints]. Pittsburgh, PA: Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute, 1940. Original edition. Slim quarto. Japanese folded stapled wrappers with deckled edge. 16 pp. 3 black and white photographs. Catalog of 57 works.  A nearly fine, uncirculated archive copy.

5.5 x 8 softcover booklet with 16 pages and 3 black and white photographs detailing the exhibition at the Carnegie Institute, Department of Fine Arts from January 4 to January 28, 1940.

The Carnegie Institute Museum of Art  was established in 1895 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. One of the first modern contemporary art museums in the United States, its flagship exhibition, the Carnegie International, is recognized as the longest running contemporary exhibition of international art in North America and is the second oldest in the world.

Karl Hofer (German, 1878 – 1955) began to study at the Grossherzoglich Badische Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Karlsruhe in 1897. Here he studied under Poetzelberger, Kalckreuth and Thoma until 1901. None of these teachers, however, were able to provide him with ideas for his ambitious striving for a new art form and he soon came under the influence of Arnold Bocklin. Hofer made the first of his prints in 1899, ultimately creating 17 woodcuts, 69 etchings, and 190 lithographs closely related in style and subject matter to his paintings.

Hofer traveled to Paris in 1900 where he was greatly impressed by Henri Rousseau's naive painting. The art historian Julius Meier-Graefe introduced Hofer not only to private collections worth while seeing in Paris, but also drew his attention to Hans von Maries. As a result Hofer decided in 1903 to spend a couple of years in Rome. His painting, which was until then influenced by Bocklin's Symbolism, changed in favour of Maries' classic-Arcadian concept.

In 1904 the Kunsthaus Zurich presented Hofer's first one-man show within the Ausstellung moderner Kunstwerke, which was afterwards shown in an extended version at the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe and at the Folkwang-Museum in Hagen and in Weimar in 1906. From 1908 Hofer lived temporarily in Paris. The stay changed his style through dealing with influences of Cezanne, French Impressionists and El Greco. In 1913 the artist moved to Berlin. During the first world war he was interned in France and only returned to Germany in 1917. He accepted a post as a professor at the Kunstschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg in 1921.

On the occasion of his 50th birthday a retrospective took place at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the Berlin Secession and Alfred Flechtheim's gallery in Berlin. His art was considered "degenerate" during the Third Reich and he was dismissed from his teaching post in 1934. Some of the 311 of his works confiscated from German museums were exhibited in 1937 in the Munich exhibition of "Entartete Kunst" (Degenerate Art) and he was forbidden to paint or display his art under the Nazis. In 1946, Hofer was appointed director of the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste in Berlin and, in an exhibition of 1946, featured paintings of those who had escaped responsibility for their actions during the Nazi era. Hofer lived in Berlin for the rest of his life.

According to Angela Schneider's article on him in the Grove Dictionary of Art, Hofer's works in the 1920s concentrate on unpretentious figure groups: couples, girls with their arms around one another, young men playing cards. These works use "an indeterminate space . . . to portray people in relaxed contact with one another, suggesting human solidarity. In the second half of the 1920s Hofer became more concerned wwith conveying symbolic meaning, concealing dark prognoses of approaching disaster"