Drei Mädchen. 1943. Oil on wood. Wohlert 1684. Monogrammed and dated lower right. 76.7 x 50.5 cm (30.1 x 19.8 in). [KD].
PROVENANCE: Private collection Hamburg (acquired from artist, since in family ownership).
Groups of three female figures are among the most favored themes in the oeuvre of Karl Hofer. Variations thereof can be found in the early days of his artistic activity. The motif, which we already find in Renaissance painting, is often seen in connection with the 'Judgement of Paris' who had to chose from three beauties. Karl Hofer seems to ignore this mythological reference. He is interested in the persons and their make. The slight notion of sentimentality that Hofer's figures often have can be found in this work, too. It is an almost silent meeting of three young women, one as nude, one as half nude and one dressed. The underlying tension among the three young women is tangible, even though Hofer does not fully decrypt the meaning of this encounter. However, this makes for the composition's special appeal, the observer gets an idea of what may have not been said and becomes a secret confidant. Karl Hofer achieves the artistic realization of the motif with his characteristic verve. It is always surprising to see how German artists found ways and means to remain true to their artistic ideals even in times of strongest repression. Eventually they left behind an art with a message so intense that it is still valid today.