Share my excitement and my discoveries as I delve ever deeper into the world of prints and printmakers
Thursday, September 12, 2013
A Lamplit Dreamscape: Karl Hofer
Karl Hofer, Nächtliche Überfahrt (Night journey)
Etching with aquatint, 1899
When I first saw this haunting etching with aquatint, I wasn't sure who the artist was. Paul Klee? Marc Chagall? Both seemed likely possibilities. But in fact it's a very early work, predating both Klee and Chagall, by the German Expressionist Karl Hofer. Born in 1878 in Karlsruhe, Karl Christian Ludwig Hofer (sometimes listed as Carl Hofer) studied at the Karlsruhe Academy of Fine Art from 1896-1900; this stiking etching was made while he was still a student.
Karl Hofer, Tänzerin
Although a prominent member of the Expressionist movement, Karl Hofer was never associated with one particular group. In common with most Expressionists, Karl Hofer's art was condemned as degenerate by the Nazis; one hundred and fifty of his canvases were destroyed in his studio. After the war, Karl Hofer was appointed Director of the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst in Berlin. He died in Berlin in 1955. The exhibition Eros, dreams and death. Between Symbolism and Expressionism: The early work of graphic Karl Hofer, Emil Rudolf Weiss and Wilhelm Laage was held at the Städtischen Kunstmuseum Spendhaus Reutlingen in 2012; I believe these two examples of Karl Hofer's art show how true that exhibition title was for him.