* 11 10 1878 | Karlsruhe
† 03 04 1955 | Berlin
Karl Hofer is one of the great mavericks in the art of the 20th century. With only a few exceptions, he remained true to figuration throughout his life. His paintings, including portraits and nudes, masquerades and circus scenes, landscapes and still lifes, are distinguished by a classic equilibrium and a quiet, stringent beauty.
Works by Karl Hofer
Vita Karl Hofer
Born in Karlsruhe.
Apprenticeship in the Müller’schen Hofbuchhaltung (Karlsruhe accounting firm). He is hired by the company as a commercial assistant.
Studies at the Großherzoglich Badischen Akademie der Künste (now State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe); master pupil of Hans Thoma.
First stay in Paris.
Second stay in Paris.
Hofer begins studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart as the master pupil of Leopold von Kalckreuth.
Marriage in April to the singer Mathilde Scheinberger; the couple moves to Rome.
Birth of their son Karl, called Carlino.
The family moves to Paris.
Hofer undertakes a five-month excursion to India.
Birth of their son Hansrudi.
The Städel Museum in Frankfurt acquires Hofer’s painting Loth und seine Töchter (Lot and His Daughters).
Another journey to India. Resettlement to Berlin; Hofer becomes a member of the “Free Secession”.
The family is surprised by the outbreak of the First World War while on holiday in the coastal resort town of Ambleteuse in northern France; Hofer is interned for three years.
He is released to Switzerland following the end of the war, where he takes an apartment in Zurich.
Return to Germany.
Hofer is called to the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (now Berlin University of the Arts) in Berlin-Charlottenburg.
Member of the Prussian Academy of Arts.
Participates in the International Exhibition of Paintings of the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.
Trip to the USA. Hofer founds the Badische Secession in Karlsruhe.
Major exhibitions in Mannheim and Berlin on the occasion of his 50th birthday.
Member of the Senate of the Prussian Academy of Arts.
Discharged from office.
Divorce from his wife.
He is represented with nine paintings in the NS propaganda exhibition Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art). More than 300 of his works are removed from museums.
Hofer is prohibited from painting, exhibiting and selling works.
Marriage to model Elisabeth Schmidt.
His studio in Berlin is destroyed during a bombing attack; he repaints several of the destroyed paintings.
Hofer is named Director of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin.
He receives the Order Pour le mérite for Science and Arts.
He receives the Great Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Berliner Kunstpreis (Berlin art Prize) on the occasion of his 75th birthday. His autobiography Erinnerungen eines Malers (A Painter’s Memories) appears.
Bitter public dispute with the art historian Will Grohmann concerning the importance of non-representational art. Hofer, who represents figuration, is subject to aggressive attacks.
He dies on 3 April in Berlin following several strokes.