The work "Nude Girl Standing Before Red" was painted by the German artist Karl Hofer in his final creative phase, one year before dying of a stroke in 1955. Throughout his life Hofer was committed to figuration – in contrast to the strongly propagated abstract art of the time. Hofer even maintained this stance in his painting – and particularly his passion for human representation – at the so–called "Darmstadt Colloquy" in 1950, and also during the polemical public debates waged between Hofer himself and the art critic Will Grohmann in 1955. At the time, Hofer was planning to publish the paper "On Legality in the Fine Arts" as a programmatic manifesto modelled on Kandinsky's "On the Spiritual in Art" (1902, 2. ed. 1952). An extract from the essay was not published by Kurt Martin until after Hofer's death, which also marked an abrupt end to this controversial debate between the proponents of the various currents in art. Just as Hofer's work constantly maintains a classical balance and a rigorous and lucid compositional structure, this nude from 1954 is distinguished by its lyrical and melancholic mood. Against a violet background with a red aureole intensified by elements of green, Hofer succeeds in conjuring an almost clerical pictorial motif. Stripped of any voyeuristic components, the purity and beauty of the nude stand to the fore in this composition. Whereas as Hofer's early oeuvre bore strong echoes of the classicism of Arnold Böcklin, Anselm Feuerbach and even Hans von Marèes, during the course of time his work – strongly influenced by his numerous encounters with, among others, the works of Paul Cèzanne – focused increasingly on the quintessence. Following Hofer's experience with the NS terror, which resulted not only in him being dismissed from his post of professor at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, but also in the destruction of his early and middle–period works during an allied air raid on March 1, 1943, his later work was characterised by an almost majestic primitivism of linear austerity and intensity. This painting "Nude Girl Standing Before Red" represents an eloquent example of this final and highly focused phase of his creative output.
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