Sale: 535 / Evening Sale with Collection Hermann Gerlinger, Dec. 09. 2022 in Munich Lot 18

Karl Hofer
Jüngling mit Kopftuch, Um 1924.
Oil on canvas
€ 250,000 / $ 262,500
€ 350,000 / $ 367,500

(incl. surcharge)
Jüngling mit Kopftuch. Um 1924.
Oil on canvas.
Wohlert 582. Lower right monogrammed. Titlled "Jungling [sic] m. Kopftuch" on the reverse. 111 x 80 cm (43.7 x 31.4 in).

• Iconic key work from his best creative period.
• Shown at Tate Gallery, London, as early as in the 1950s and mentioned in Werner Haftmann's standard work "Malerei im 20. Jahrhundert".
• Formerly part of the Collection Raemisch, one of the most significant private collections of Modernism in the Rhineland.
• Hofer's melancholic depictions of boys and girls are considered his best works.
• The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired the similar painting "Jüngling mit Melone" (1926/1933) for its collection in 1949.
• Paintings of this quality are extremely rare on the international auction market

PROVENANCE: Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin (1924).
Collection Dr. Erich Raemisch, Krefeld/Berlin/Freiburg i. Br. (acquired from the above, presumably in 1924, the latest since 1928 until at least 1955).
Private collection Northern Germany (presumably since 1979).
Private collection Northern Germany (acquired from the above in 2018).

EXHIBITION: Karl Hofer. Bilder aus dem Jahr 1924, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin, 1924/25, no. cat.
Carl Hofer, Ernesto de Fiori, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf 1927, cat. no. 31.
Karl Hofer. Das gesammelte Werk, Städtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim 1928, cat. no. 43 (with black-and-white illu. p. 21).
55. Ausstellung: Kollektivausstellung Karl Hofer. Berliner Sezession in Gemeinschaft mit der Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin 1928, cat. no. 34 (with black-and-white illu. p. 34).
Karl Hofer, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1929, cat. no. 15.
Expressionismus in Malerei und Plastik. Kaiser-Wilhelm-Museum, Krefeld 1946/47, cat. no. 34 (with black-and-white illu.).
Von Nolde bis Klee. Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, 1947, cat. no. 17.
Ausstellung expressionistischer Malerei, Kunst- und Museumsverein im städtischen Museum Wuppertal, 1947, cat. no. 29.
Ausstellung Carl Hofer, Galerie Alex Vömel/Kunstkabinett Hans Trojanski, Düsseldorf 1947, no cat.
Berliner Festwochen 1953: Ausstellung Karl Hofer anlässlich seines 75. Geburtstages, Hochschule für bildende Künste, Berlin, 1953, cat. no. 12.
Karl Hofer, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg/Städtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim/Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe/Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, 1954, cat. no. 2.
Hundred Years of German Painting, The Tate Gallery, London, 1956, cat. no. 62 (with wrong dimensions).
Gedächtnis-Ausstellung für Karl Hofer, Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Berlin/Badischer Kunstverein in Verbindung mit der Staatlichen Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe 1956/57, cat. no. 36. (with the label on the stretcher).
Karl Hofer, Galerie Karin Hilscher, Munich, 1958, cat. no. 20.
Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Augustinermuseum Freiburg i. Br., 1962, cat. no. 44 (with black-and-white illu.).
Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus rheinisch-westfälischem Privatbesitz. Malerei, Plastik, Handzeichnung, Städtische Kunsthalle/Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 1967, cat. no. 140 (with illu. 43).
Deutsche Kunst 1900-1930, Galerie Levy, Hamburg, 1979, cat. no. 101.

LITERATURE: Benno Reifenberg, Karl Hofer, Leipzig 1924 (Junge Kunst, vol. 48) (with black-and-white illu. plate 25).
Rom Landau. Karl Hofer, in: Deutscher Bote, February 3, 1925, no. 12, pp. 595-598 (with black-and-white illu. before p. 614).
Alfred Kuhn, Karl Hofer, in: Die Horen, vol. 1, 1924/25, pp. 131-142 (illu. p. 133).
Der Querschnitt, vol. 5, 1925, issue 1 (illu. after p. 48).
Helmut Richter, Die neue Malerei und wir. 50 Maler in 50 Bildern, Leipzig 1930, pp. 93-94 (with illu. p. 93).
Die Galerie Vömel, in: Rhein-Echo, September 9, 1948, no. 107, p. 1.
Der siebzigjährige Hofer, in: Hessische Nachrichten, September 21, 1948, no. 126, p. 3.
Werner Haftmann, Malerei im 20. Jahrhundert, Munich 1954/55, 2 vols., here plate vol., p. 309 (illu. 170) and p. 509 (here dated "1928").
Werner Haftmann, Malerei im 20. Jahrhundert. Eine Bild-Enzyklopädie, Munich 1965, p. 286, illu. 702, and p. 408.
Kunsthaus Lempertz, Cologne, auction 478, Kunst des XX. Jahrhunderts, May 26/27, 1964, lot 217 (with black-and-white illu. plate 20).
Dr. Ernst Hauswedell, Hamburg, auction 160, Moderne Kunst, June 24/25, 1968, lot 508 (with illu. on p. 93).

A few themes always recur and in the course of this repetition, the organization of the pictures becomes more ascetic. This quality in German art between the two wars is a special accent. Hofer was a painter who began with a dream of an ideal beauty, which shattered through the contact with reality.

Werner Haftmann, in: German art of the twentieth century, ex. cat. Museum of Modern Art, New York 1957, p. 96.

Hofer is the painter of melancholia, a master of silence and the pensive gaze. Hofer's figures are motionless and lost in thought. In the 1920s, Hofer attained the style that would characterize his painting oeuvre until the end of his life. The central importance of "Jüngling mit Kopftuch", one of the earliest and at the same time most mature creations of this kind, was well-known to the art historian Werner Haftmann. He picked the painting, which was shown in the grand retrospective exhibition on occasion of the artist's 50th birthday in 1928, as a kind of iconic masterpiece for his important publication "Malerei im 20. Jahrhundert" (Painting in the 20th Century), today considered a standard work. Haftmann, who was the art-historical director of documenta I in 1955, was also one of the curators of the legendary exhibition "German Art of the Twentieth Century" at the Museum of Modern Art in 1957, a major review show of the highlights of modern art. Hofer, who had died two years earlier, was represented alongside Kandinsky, Kirchner, Feininger and Schlemmer. Hofer's figure paintings show no action; they depict people gazing into the void. As the early outstanding painting "Jüngling mit Kopftuch" (Young Man with Headscarf) shows, Hofer was not concerned with portraying his sitters; his young men and women are rather de-individualized representatives of human sentiment. Their restrained sadness and melancholy takes the viewer back to his own world of thought, his own spiritual life. Despite their origin in the time between the wars, which was decisive for the melancholic mood, these impressive creations fascinate with their timeless expression.
Based on Aristotle, the melancholic state of mind has been associated with intelligence and creativity since Italian Renaissance, and the artist, who must acquire fundamental knowledge in a wide variety of sciences such as anatomy, geometry, etc., was increasingly identified as an intellectual and creative philosopher by early modern art theory. Hence Hofer's "Jüngling mit Kopftuch" is part of an art-historical tradition that goes back to Dürer's famous "Melancholia" (1514). In 2006, the Nationalgalerie addressed the theme in the exhibition "Melancholie. Genie und Wahnsinn in der Kunst“ (Melancholia. Genius and Mania in Art). Inspired by the impressions of his two journeys to India, Hofer has also lent his muscular youth in front of a black background a subtle exoticism through his fancy headdress and the colorful drapery, through which the captivating, pensive gaze of the youth could be interpreted as a representation of a melancholic longing for distant places. [JS]

Karl Hofer
Jüngling mit Kopftuch, Um 1924.
Oil on canvas
€ 250,000 / $ 262,500
€ 350,000 / $ 367,500

(incl. surcharge)