Lot 411
  • 411

KARL HOFER | Mädchen am Fenster (Girl at the Window)

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Karl Hofer
  • Mädchen am Fenster (Girl at the Window)
  • signed with the monogram and dated 43 (lower left); inscribed Mädchen on the stretcher
  • oil on canvas
  • 77 by 61cm., 30 3/8 by 24in.
  • Painted in 1943.


Virginia Madison Armstead MacLaren, New York (a gift from the artist. Sold: Brunk Auctions, North Carolina, 15th September 2018, lot 863)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1943, a turbulent time for Karl Hofer, Mädchen am Fenster is testament to the artist’s strength of endurance during an intense period of anxiety and uncertainty. 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 Entartete 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. Painted in this pivotal year and having escaped destruction, Mädchen am Fenster offers a powerful and invaluable insight into the artist’s output and perseverance during a time when so much was lost.   Inspired by the Die Brücke movement, whilst not directly aligning himself with it, Hofer’s interest in non-representational colours is reflected in the present work. Designed to incite emotional responses, the vibrant green of the woman’s clothing stands out against the dark background, and her wistful expression invokes humanity’s extraordinary capability to retain hope in the face of adversity. One cannot see what captures the figure's gaze but the light that is reflected onto her alludes to a brightness ahead. This obscured optimism illuminates the composition and softens the dark brown tones of the background.

The present work was gifted by the artist to Virginia Madison Armstead MacLaren, an important female figure working in the US secret service during the war. After hearing of Hofer’s struggles, Maclaren made her way to Hofer’s studio where she photographed him and listened to his story. MacLaren had described the artist’s incredible indomitability as he began painting from memory all the works that he had lost. Mädchen am Fenster was gifted to MacLaren in return for art supplies that she had brought him. 

This work will be included in the Catalogue Raisonné of paintings by Karl Hofer and is recorded in the Karl Hofer Archive under number N20.