Lot 193
  • 193

KARL HOFER | Mädchen mit Laute (Girl with Lute)

180,000 - 250,000 GBP
225,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Karl Hofer
  • Mädchen mit Laute (Girl with Lute)
  • signed CH and dated 46 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas


Private Collection, Hamburg
Private Collection, Schleswig-Holstein (by descent from the above in 1981)
Thence by descent to the present owner


Dresden, Stadthalle Nordplatz, Allegemeine deutsche Kunstausstellung, 1946, n.n.
Heidelberg, Kunstverein, Karl Hofer, 1947, n.n.
Kassel, Hessische Sezession und Landesmuseum, Kollektivausstellung Karl Hofer zu Ehren des Siebzigjährigen, 1948, no. 38
Schleswig-Holstein, Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf, 1982 - 2019 (on loan)


'Carl Hofer', in Badische Neuste Nachrichten, Karlsruhe, 29th November 1947, no. 142
Karl Bernhard Wohlert & Markus Eisenbeis, Karl Hofer, Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde, Cologne, 2008, vol. III, no. 1925(B), illustrated p. 9 (with erroneous measurements)

Catalogue Note

Painted one year after the end of World War II, Mädchen mit Laute is a tender example of Hofer’s contribution to Expressionist portraiture. Inspired by, although never directly associated to, the Die Brücke movement Hofer was impressed by their use of simplified forms and non-representational colours designed to provoke emotional responses. Mädchen mit Laute emblematizes this naïve style to invoke a childish hope and tranquility for the years ahead.  Hofer had undergone a period of anxiety and uncertainty during the war. In 1934, he was dismissed from his teaching post at the Kunstschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg and in 1937 his works were removed from German museums with several selected to be exhibited in the Entarte Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition in Munich. Hofer had been banned from painting, restricted from exhibiting and in 1943 a copious amount of his artistic output was destroyed during an air raid on Berlin.

Mädchen mit Laute, therefore, is testament to the artist’s resilience and 1946 marks the beginning of a period of revival and recovery. Hofer had recently become the director of the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts and was beginning to regain his artistic prestige within Germany. The colours in the present work are subtly optimistic. There is a splash of yellow in the thin material of the girl’s skirt and a bright stripe of pink and white peeking out from behind her instrument. The orange of the lute stands out against the dark background focusing the viewer’s eye. The son of a military musician, musical instruments feature frequently throughout the artist’s œuvre whilst alluding to the academic portraiture of the Old Masters.