Vente: 514 / Evening Sale 11 décembre 2020 à Munich Lot 209

Karl Hofer
Sibylle, 1935.
Oil on canvas
Estimation: € 100,000 / $ 117,000
Description de l'objet
Sibylle. 1935.
Oil on canvas.
Wohlert 1118. Lower right monogrammed (in ligature) and dated. 106 x 79 cm (41.7 x 31.1 in).

• With an exhibition history that goes back to its making.
• By choosing the traditional mythological subject of Sibylle, a prophet foretelling the future, Hofer also points to the looming terrors of WW II.
• Charming visualization of the artist's aspired atmosphere: A particularly expressive melancholy.
• On loan at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco for nearly 30 years (1957-1984)

PROVENANCE: Nierendorf Galleries, New York.
Collection Albert M. Bender, San Francisco.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (1957-1984, formerly inventory number 37.2994).
Private collection Great Britain (as of the mid 1980s).
Private collection (inherited from aforementioned).

EXHIBITION: Werner Zeppenfeld: Plastik, Max Beckmann: Graphik, Karl Hofer: Ölgemälde, Kunstverein in Hamburg, April 5 -May 3, 1936, cat. no. 28
Karl Hofer. A Retrospective View, Milwaukee Art Institute, October 5 - October 25, 1936, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, May 5 - August 5, 1937, cat. no. 15.
Karl Hofer. A Retrospective View, Schaeffer Galleries, New York, January 4 - January 23, 1937, cat. no. 14.
Loan Exhibition of International Art, Los Angeles Art Association, Los Angeles, October to December 1937, cat. no. 177.
In Memoriam, American Federation of Arts (New York), San Francisco, November 1957, cat. no. 41.

LITERATURE: Magazine of Art, San Francisco Museum of Art Edition, 1949 (January), p. XXXXVII (with illu.).
Alfred Frankenstein, Letters of a German Artist. Carl Hofer, in: San Francisco Chronicle, This World, January 11, 1948, p. 24 (with illu.).
Christie's, New York, May 17, 1984, p. 114, lot no. 397 (with illu.).
Kunstpreis Jahrbuch, 39.1984, 1, p. 202.
"Their calm yet intensive charisma is largely owed to the strict composition and stylistic elements characterized by a restrained expressiveness that preserves the object without merely reproducing it. Its secret lies in the inconspicuous yet inseparable coexistence of form and colors [..]."
Karl Hofer, quote after: ex. cat. Karl Hofer. Von Lebensspuk und stiller Schönheit, Hamburg 2012, p. 126.

Called up: December 11, 2020 - ca. 17.19 h +/- 20 min.

Hofer's masterful figure paintings

" Karl Hofer’s greatest accomplishment undoubtedly is the figure picture," writes Dr. Frank Schmidt, then director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, in the catalog for the 2012 exhibition "Karl Hofer. Von Lebensspuk und stiller Schönheit" (Of haunted life and silent beauty, p. 92). Hofer's abilities also becomes evident in this work here, in which, as is so often the case in his oeuvre, he creates a figure portrait that gets by with a spare use of objects and accessories, the typical absence of a definable, narrative setting and just a hint of nudity, and yet - or perhaps because of it - conveys an effect of a dignified, strangely timeless restraint and at the same time strong attraction. Hofer skillfully places his female protagonist in an empty nebulous, as if he wanted to visualize her aura. Due to the reduced, even minimalist representation, the figure itself takes center stage, and is the only thing of importance here.
Picasso, Titian, Michelangelo and the Naumburg Masters - A wealth of art-historical inspirations

Even the nudity, which is only partially shown, is a sophisticated artifice. The white cloth wrapped around the figure creates an intimate atmosphere, creates a subtle field of tension between revealing and veiling and plays with the viewer's expectations. Hofer dares to pick up a traditional art-historical subject that can be found in depictions from antiquity and Renaissance. Not only the partial nudity of the sitter and her look averted from the viewer, but also her associative fingers forming a "V" and the old-masterly draped cloth call reminiscence of female figure representations of Italian Renaissance, for example Titian's "Flora". In fact, during a several year long stay in Rome from 1903 onwards, Hofer was intensively occupied with the works of antiquity, the Quattrocento and the Renaissance. The statuesque-sculptural pausing and the apparent spiritual remoteness of the figures can be traced back to inspirations from art history, for example to the donor figure of "Uta" in the Naumburg Cathedral, which Hofer explicitly mentions in his remarks on the universally valid formal language (in: D. Kupper (ed.), Schriften, 1995, p. 114). The statue-like motionlessness forms a strong contrast to the subtle, erotic sensuality of the almost bare sitter, but with this formal reduction, Hofer is actually more concerned with an artistic generalization, a general validity of the form and the painterly visualization of a mood: his own melancholy of those years . On the one hand, it confirms his aspirations as a highly modern painter, on the other hand, it may also show his appreciation for the work of Pablo Picasso, who, with the help of this quest for the universality of beauty and form, embarked on the path to abstraction.
Upheaval in the 1930s. Hofer's prophetic art

An oil sketch made in preparation of our picture and inscribed with the dedication "Belongs to my dear wife Lisb. Hofer" (Wohlert 1117) was in possession of Elisabeth Hofer until her death. This detail, as well as the time of origin of our work with regards to Hofer's life at the time, hint at the great importance the work must have had for him. A few years before our work was created the artist was still at the peak of his career. His works were shown in a total of 27 museums and he also experienced growing international success. In 1933 all of this came to an abrupt end. Hofer was suspended, over 300 of his works were removed from public collections and defamed as "degenerate art", and an employment and exhibition ban was imposed on him. However, he showed resistance and stoically continued to paint, making, among others, numerous prophetic works in which he seemed to predict the atrocities and apocalyptic events of the looming Second World War. With the work offered here, the title of which refers to the mythological figure of "Sibylle", a prophetess who predicts the future, Hofer seems to draw the viewer's attention to future events that were foreshadowed in 1935. He wrote in a letter shortly before this work was made: "I feel an incredible creative power, I have never worked so much and so well. If it weren't for that, I would have had to end my life." (quote from: ex. cat. Karl Hofer, Hamburg 2012, p. 128). "The sensitive painter, by nature inclined to melancholy and bitterness, survived the anti-human and art-hostile Nazi rule only with the help of his painting, in which he found an outlet for the horrors, in which he could take sides and act as admonisher, but it also enabled him to escape reality, to seek the spaces of silence and harmony he longed for so much. " (Ibid., P. 128). [CH]

Commission, taxes et droit de suite
Cet objet est offert avec imposition régulière ou avec imposition différentielle.

Calcul en cas d'imposition différentielle:
Prix d'adjudication jusqu'à 500 000 € : 32 % de commission.
Prix d'adjudication supérieur à 500 000 € : montants partiels jusqu'à 500 000 € 32 % de commission, montants partiels supérieurs à 500 000 € : 27 % de commission.
La commission comprend la TVA, laquelle ne figure cependant pas sur la facture.

Calcul en cas d'imposition régulière:
Prix d'adjudication jusqu'à 500 000 € : 25 % de commission majorée de la TVA légale
Prix d'adjudication supérieur à 500 000 € : montants partiels jusqu'à 500 000 € 25 % de commission, montants partiels supérieurs à 500 000 € : 20 % de commission, à chaque fois majorés de la TVA légale.

Si vous souhaitez appliquer l'imposition régulière, merci de bien vouloir le communiquer par écrit avant la facturation.

Calcul en cas de droit de suite:
Concernant les objets réalisés par un artiste dont le décès remonte à moins de 70 ans, des droits de suite seront facturés qui s'élèvent à 2,4 % de la TVA légale incluse.