Click for BBB rating

Spaightwood Galleries

120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193; 800-809-3343; email sptwd@verizon.net

Updated 11-14-11
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / German Expressionism / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists
Gallery News

Karl Hofer (German, 1878-1955): Original lithographs and a drypoint.

German Expressionism: People / Lovers / Social Interaction

"Käthe Kollwitz and German Expressionism" featured over fifty works by Käthe Kollwitz plus additional works by Josef Albers,
Ernst Barlach, Rudolf Bauer, Max Beckmann, Peter Behrens, Heinrich Campendonck, Marc Chagall, Lovis Corinth,
Otto Dix, Lyonel Feininger, Conrad Felixmuller, Hans Fronius, Alfons Graber, Otto Greiner, Georg Grosz, Erich Heckel,
Hannah Hoch, Karl Hofer,Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ludwig Meidner,
Edvard Munch, Gabrielle Munter, Heinrich Nauen, Emile Nolde, Max Pechstein, Hilla von Rebay, Georges Rouault,
Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Siegfried Schott, Georg Tappert, Wilhelm Wagner, and others.

German Expressionist Drawings

The Russians: Chagall, Sonia Delaunay, Goncharova, Larionov, and Malevich
Karl Hofer was born in Karlsruhe on 11 October 1878, shortly before his father, a military musician, died and left him in the care of two great aunts. After an apprenticeship in C. F. Müller's court bookstore, he 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" (14: 622-24; see below for exampes of both motifs).

Select Bibliography: the standard catalogue raisonné of Hofer's prints is Ernest Rathenau and Kurt Martin, Karl Hofer: Das Graphische Werk (NY: Ernest Rathenau, 1969; this has the odd quirk of numbering works in each mode separately, starting from one for each grapic technique); the starting point for entering Hofer's world is Dieter Ruckhaberle, et al, Karl Hofer 1878-1955 ([Berlin: Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, 1978], a massive 720-page treasure-trove of documents and illustrations of his works and of Nazi propaganda against "degenerate art" in general and their attacks in Hofer in particular). See also Elisabeth Furler & Ursula Feist, Karl Hofer Leben und Werk in Daten und Bildern (Frankfurt am Main:, Insel Verlag, 1978); Dieter Gleisberg, ed, Karl Hofer - Tischgesellschaften Kulturstiftung Der Länder (Leipzig:, Museum Der Bildenden Künste, 1992); Herman Raum, et al, Karl Hofer 1878 - 1955 Malerei Grafik Zeichnung (Halle: Staatliche Galerie Moritzburg, 1978); and Benno Reifenberg, Karl Hofer Junge Kunst (Leipzig: Verlag von Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1924). an early study of him as an emerging artist.
Zwei Mädchenköpfe / Two heads of young girls (Rathenau 55). Original drypoint, c. 1927. Signed lower right and inscribed "No. 107) lower left. Beneath that, someone has titled the work titled "Two Heads." Image size: 235x180mm. Price: $2500.
Knabe mit Kind auf dem Arm (Rathenau 65). Original lithograph, Edition unknown. Ours is a signed impression on thick wove paper. Image size: 384z177mm. Price: $1650.
Nach Oben / After the fall from above (Rathenau 107). Original lithograph, 1921. Edition size unknown; no pencil sighed impressions. Published in Karl Hofer, Begegniungen, Funzehn zeichnungen und sieben lithographen. Printed in Berlin between 1950 and 1954. Monogrammed in the stone. Rathenau includesjust five of the lithographs, of which this is one. Image size: 193x185mm. Price: $450.
Drei Männerköpfe im Profil (Rathenau 110). Original lithograph, 1929. Published in Die Schaffenden, Portfolio 1, year 6, by Euphorion Verlag, Berlin. Ours is a signed mpression on wove paper. Image size: 215x198mm. Price: $1800.
Javanische Tanzerin (Rathenau 169, Davis-Rifkin 1201). Original lithograph, 1921. Our impression is from the deluxe pencil-signed edition for the Ganymede-Mappe published by Marees-Gesellschaft in 1921. There was also an unsigned edition published in the regular edition of Ganymede. Image size: 293x183mm. Price: $1750.

We also have one of the unsigned impressions available for $450.
Zenana plate 3: Couple (Rathenau 175). Original lithograph, 1923. Published in Zenana, a portfolio of 11 original lithographs published by Marees-Gesellschaft R. Piper & Co., Munich; printed by Hermann Birkholz, Berlin for Marees-Gesellschaft. Edition size: 200 signed impressions, 80 on Japon and 120 on Velin with the drystamp of the Marees-Gesellschaft, of which ours is one. Illustrated in Ruckhaberle, et al, Karl Hofer 1878-1955. Image size: 272x171mm. Price: $2100.
Zenana plate 5: Four young women (Rathenau 177). Original lithograph, 1923. Published in Zenana, a portfolio of 11 original lithographs published by Marees-Gesellschaft R. Piper & Co., Munich; printed by Hermann Birkholz, Berlin for Marees-Gesellschaft. Edition size: 200 signed impressions, 80 on Japon and 120 on Velin with the drystamp of the Marees-Gesellschaft, of which ours is one. Included in Ruckhaberle, et al, Karl Hofer 1878-1955. Image size: 278x244mm. Price: $1950.
Zenana plate 6: Two young women (Rathenau 178). Original lithograph, 1923. Published in Zenana, a portfolio of 11 original lithographs published by Marees-Gesellschaft R. Piper & Co., Munich; printed by Hermann Birkholz, Berlin for Marees-Gesellschaft. Edition size: 200 signed impressions, 80 on Japon and 120 on Velin with the drystamp of the Marees-Gesellschaft, of which ours is one. Included in Ruckhaberle, et al, Karl Hofer 1878-1955. Image size: 293x203mm. Price: $1950.
Zenana plate 9: Lustmord (Rathenau 181). Original lithograph, 1923. Published in Zenana, a portfolio of 11 original lithographs published by Marees-Gesellschaft R. Piper & Co., Munich; printed by Hermann Birkholz, Berlin for Marees-Gesellschaft. Edition size: 200 signed impressions, 80 on Japon and 120 on Velin with the drystamp of the Marees-Gesellschaft, of which ours is one. Illustrated in Ruckhaberle, et al, Karl Hofer 1878-1955. Image size: 267x183mm. Price: $2250.
Zenana, plate 10: 3 Mädchen. (Rathenau 182). Original lithograph, 1923. Published in Zenana, a portfolio of 11 original lithographs published by Marees-Gesellschaft R. Piper & Co., Munich; printed by Hermann Birkholz, Berlin for Marees-Gesellschaft. Edition size: 200 signed impressions, 80 on Japon and 120 on Velin with the drystamp of the Marees-Gesellschaft, of which ours is one. Illustrated in Ruckhaberle, et al, Karl Hofer 1878-1955. Image size: 267x183mm. Price: $2250.

Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

To purchase, call us at 1-800-809-3343 (508-529-2511 in Upton MA & vicinity) or send an email to sptwd@verizon.net.
We accept AmericanExpress, DiscoverCard, MasterCard, and Visa.
We also accept wire transfers and paypal.

For directions and visiting information, please call. We are, of course, always available over the web and by telephone (see above for contact information). Click the following for links to past shows and artists. For a visual tour of the gallery, please click here. For information about Andy Weiner and Sonja Hansard-Weiner, please click here. For a list of special offers currently available, see Specials.

All works are sold with an unconditional guarantee of authenticity (as described in our website listing).

Go back to the top of this page.

Visiting hours: Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 pm and other times by arrangement.
Please call to confirm your visit. Browsers and guests are welcome.