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Q: Research German Expressionist artist. Charles Hofer ( not Karl Hofer) ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: Research German Expressionist artist. Charles Hofer ( not Karl Hofer)
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Visual Arts
Asked by: panglemacdang-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 31 Mar 2006 15:38 PST
Expires: 30 Apr 2006 16:38 PDT
Question ID: 714165
I am trying to find out about a German artist who was painting around
1915-1920 (and maybe before and maybe after). His name is Charles
Hofer, not to be confused with Karl Hofer. The style is Expressionist,
Fauve like, very beautiful. I found a reference that mentioned a "
Charles Hofer, along with Max Beckmann and Otto Dix as part of an
expressionist group called " The Storm". I don't know if the
"transaltion of this site consused Karl Hofer with Charles Hofer. My
paintings are signed Ch. Hofer, 1916. Look forward to receiving any
information. much obliged
Subject: Re: Research German Expressionist artist. Charles Hofer ( not Karl Hofer)
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 31 Mar 2006 17:29 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear panglemacdang,

Charles Hofer was actually not German, but Swiss. I have found a brief
autobiographical sketch he wrote in 1920 for the July issue of "Der
Ararat", a catalog published by the Neue Kunst Hans Goltz Galerie
(Hans Goltz Gallery for New Arts) in Munich. Here is what he wrote
about himself:

"I gladly grant the request to provide the readers of the 'Ararat'
some words about my life so far. Any kind of individuality forms a
curve whose incidental results we are; to become acquainted with it is
not without benefit. Howerver, what I indend to say shall be said in
the most succinct way since the pen is the most unfit tool for a
painter's hand.
Born in Switzerland in 1887, I spend my teens surrounded by the
austere frame of the Jura Mountains valleys which I left early enough,
attracted by the Paris of painting whose appeal is irresistible. That
city would decide over my destiny: There I have spent my most
important years, maybe not in respect of work, but in intellectual
terms. Years of joy, of doubt, of material struggles, the destiny of
so may young man in the early dawn of a life devoted to the arts,
where - on the summit of youth - the most basic work, the final
formation happens yet. The outbreak of the war delayed evolvement and
even almost threatened to destroy the burgeon.
The horrible monster did truly not spare me. I felt to deeply
associated with my environment to not participate in the great
distress. Certainly, I wanted to to it in a peaceful spirit, to heal
wounds but to to cause wounds. It happened differently from what I
intended. 18 months of ugliness, of killing, of blood in the trench!
As a convalescent I came to Geneva, with the relief of having escaped
that butchery as my sole gleam of hope, and being intent on never
returning there. Together with Romain Rolland, I had the pleasure to
meet many brothers of my attitude here, authors of young France,
fervent pacifists like P. J. Jouve, Renè Arcos and others who,
together with several other refugees from all nations, summoned up all
their power for the struggle against the lie and the hate, for the
confraternity of all humans. Although I was not able to actively
participate in their endeavours, I felt ethically connected with them
all the time, and together with them I signed the 'Manifesto of the
Liberty of the Mind'.
Of course, all those dark years when a smell of corpses hang over the
world, were unfavourable to the reverie that is so necessary for the
work of a painter (necessary at least for the one who does not intend
to make his art a weapon). But the hope that arises anew now will, by
freeing conscience, reawaken the cult of art, the attribute of
happiness and of peace among the nations.

Genoa, 10 May 1920

Charles Hofer."

One page in that July 1920 issue of "Der Ararat" lists serveral
paintings, watercolor pictures and drawings that were exhibited at the
Goltz Gallery then:
That Munich gallery, exclusive representative of Charles Hofer, was
known for exhibiting and selling Expressionist and Dadaist art, thus
the "New Art" in the gallery's name.

Some more biographical detail comes from two articles about Charles
Hofer's wife, Swiss author Cécile Hofer-Houriet, also known as Cilette
Ofaire (1891-1964):

"A painter and a graphic artist of original potency, she lived since
1912 together with her husband Charles Hofer only for her art (...).
From 1923 on, the two artists sailed the canals and rivers all over
Europe on their house boat 'San Luca', they painted, drew and exposed
their creations aboard. In her first book 'Le San Luca' of 1934,
Cilette Ofaire literary described the painter-odyssey. She had begun
to write when an eye complaint kept her from painting. That was in
1933, when she was about to trade the 'San Luca' for a sea-going
vessel, the 'Ismé' and to sail the seas as her own captain, since
meanwhile her marriage had broken apart."

"In 1914, she married the fellow painter Charles Hofer, with whom she
relocated to Paris. When in 1916 he deserted from the French army to
Geneva, she accepted a position as a secretary for the author and
publicist Cuno Hofer. From 1923 on, the couple traveled the rivers and
canals of Europe on the houseboat 'San Luca', starting in Hamburg
(...). In 1932, the artist couple purchased the sea-going vessel
'Ismé' in England, with which O. sailed the Atlantic and the
Mediterranean from 1933-1937 after her marriage had failed."

This is all I could find in online sources about Charles Hofer. On
Monday, I will consult the art encyclopedia in my library to find out
more, if available. I will then add the new results to this answer.
But I hope that this information is already useful for you.



University of Iowa Library: "Der Ararat" No. 8 (Munich, July 1920)

Page 69 thereof: Autobiographical sketch by Charles Hofer

Hans Goltz - Wegbereiter der Moderne

Linsmayer: Biographische Artikel zu Autorinnen und Autoren des
Zeitraums 1890 bis 1960 - Cilette Ofaire

Clarification of Answer by scriptor-ga on 03 Apr 2006 12:47 PDT
Dear panglemacdang,

As I promised, I've been to the library today in order to find out
more about this painter. However, he remains a mystery. I searched his
name in two multi-volume encyclopedias of artist, which list even
hardly known and obscure artists. But Charles Hofer is not listed
anywhere. Neither have I found him in any other books.

Since my visit at the library did not produce any results, you may
want to contact Michael Goltz, the grandson of gallery owner Hans
Goltz who was Charles Hofer's exclusive representative in the 1920s.
He is, according to his website, very proud of his grandfather's role
as a patron of modern art. His office E-mail address is:

panglemacdang-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
excellent, thank you so much. I did know about the San Luca..actually
had bought the book and read it, but it did not reveal much to me
about Charles Hofer or his Art. I cannot understand why there are no
auction records in existence for this artist. Also, the site where I
found the reference to Charles Hofer as being a member of  "the storm"
along with Beckmann and Dix was
But I don't know if this is "Charles" Hofer or an incorrect
translation of Karl to Charles when the site was translated. would
love to know more, thanks so much

Subject: Re: Research German Expressionist artist. Charles Hofer ( not Karl Hofer)
From: geof-ga on 01 Apr 2006 11:26 PST
I'm not sure that Der Sturm (The Assault) was ever an art group or
movement as such; it was, however, the name of a periodical (1910 -
1932) and of an  gallery (1912 - 1932), both devoted to modern art and
founded in Berlin by Herwarth Walden.
Subject: Re: Research German Expressionist artist. Charles Hofer ( not Karl Hofer)
From: scriptor-ga on 01 Apr 2006 11:53 PST
Just a little comment: "Sturm" translates as "assault" only in
military context (Sturmgeschütz = Assault Gun, for example). When
related to revolutionary new forms of artistic expression, "storm"
seems to be more appropriate, in my opinion.

Subject: Re: Research German Expressionist artist. Charles Hofer ( not Karl Hofer)
From: geof-ga on 01 Apr 2006 14:20 PST
I personally would bow to scriptor's opinion, but I was simply
following the Britannica Online which translates "Der Sturm", with
reference to the periodical and gallery, as "The Assault". Perhaps it
would be better not to try to translate, and stick with "Der Sturm".
Subject: Re: Research German Expressionist artist. Charles Hofer ( not Karl Hofer)
From: geof-ga on 04 Apr 2006 16:00 PDT
This is fascinating stuff. There are so many parallels between them,
that after a while one begins to wonder if there really were two
Hofers or just one. For example, both seem to have lived in Paris in
the years immediately prior to WWI; and of course both seem to have
adopted an expressionist style. I suspect that - assuming there were
two separate Hofers - there has been a lot of confusion between them.
For example, in the following biography of the German expressionist
painter, August Macke, you wonder just which Carl Hofer Macke met in
Paris in 1909 -

Also, some of the following biography of the German Hofer is possibly
that of the Swiss Hofer -
(Did the German Karl really spend the war years interned in France;
and did he, like Charles/Carl, move to Switzerland after the war, as
this biography states?) It wouldn't even be surprising if some of the
paintings of the lesser-known Swiss painter have been attributed to
his more renowned German namesake. Possibly good material for a play
or film!
Subject: Re: Research German Expressionist artist. Charles Hofer ( not Karl Hofer)
From: panglemacdang-ga on 04 Apr 2006 18:01 PDT
You never know. I do think that Karl or Carl's life is pretty well
documented and he is, as you know, a well known painter with a long
career. It just seems odd that an artist such as Charles Hofer,
exhibiting with some of the greats in 1920's Munich ( albeit that he
was Swiss not German, but it didn't hurt Kandinsky who was not German
either!!!) could not only disappear from any record of this period,
any artist biography, any list of artists etc but never have appeared
at auction...anywhere!!!!
I just find this bizarre. The paintings are superb Fauve like works. Who knows
what I will find. Thanks for all your input.

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