Karl Hofer - Kirche in Weißenburg (Church in Weissenburg), 1948

Oil on paperboard

75 x 50 cm / framed 90 x 70 cm
29 x 19 inch / framed 35 x 27 inch

Monogrammed bottom left: CH
Hardly legible on the back but, according to the information of 6 October 1988 from Karl Bernhard Wohlert, written by Hofer: Weißenburg
Catalogue raisonné: Karl Bernhard Wohlert, Karl Hofer,
Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde, volume 3, van Ham Art Publications, 2007,
catalogue raisonné no. 2159 with illustration

 

N 9417

About the work

Neither a raucous, expressive gesture nor clamouring colourfulness are Karl Hofer’s thing. The painter has instead always trusted in classic forms, a stringent, often tectonic image structure and subtle colourfulness. "Never have I created a figuration according to the external nature of the random. Impressionism has always failed to move me for this reason. The ecstasies of Expressionism were not my forte”, says the artist.
Branded as degenerate by the National Socialists and later pegged as a stick-in-the-mud by the representatives of non-representational post-war art, Hofer never let himself be seduced from his highly iconoclastic path: still lifes and landscapes, figures in space and nudes of classical beauty are at the epicentre of his extensive life’s work.
He created around 200 landscapes from 1923 to 1946, primarily in Ticino, where Hofer acquired a summer residence near Lugano in 1932. However, Karl Hofer guides his viewers to Bavarian Weißenburg with the quiet, slim vertical format of the year 1948, painted in oil on pressboard. A small, empty street, flanked by several houses, guides the gaze into the depths of the painting. There, the interest of the painter primarily focuses on the slender chancel flanking tower of the neo-Gothic parish church St. Willibald, which rises high into the sky with its characteristic pointed helmet. Hofer captures his pictorial elements highly simplified and abstracted, dispenses completely with details like the clock face of the church tower clock and structures the entirely of the painting with great consideration of individual areas composed of roofs and building walls. Several loosely inserted, organic elements, however, a little bit of green that protrudes over a wall, a bush in the background, a few bricks, undermine the strictly formal structure of the painting and lend the urban landscape liveliness. A composition that convincingly expresses Hofer’s mastery of later years.
( Doris Hansmann )

Text authored and provided by Dr. Doris Hansmann, Art historian

Studies of art history, theater, film and television, English and Romance Languages at the University of Cologne, doctorated in 1994. Research assistant at the Art Museum Düsseldorf. Lecturer and project manager at Wienand Verlag, Cologne. Freelance work as an author, editor and book producer for publishers and museums in Germany and abroad. From 2011 chief editor at Wienand Verlag, since 2018 senior editor at DCV, Dr. Cantz’sche Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin. Numerous publications on the art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Karl Hofer, Church in Weissenburg, 1948, 75 x 50 cm / framed 90 x 70 cm, N 9417
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