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.
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