From the german artist Karl Hofer you can read “Karl Christian Ludwig Hofer or Carl Hofer (11 October 1878 in Karlsruhe – 3 April 1955 Berlin) was a German expressionist painter. One of the most prominent painters of expressionism, he never was a member of one of the expressionist painting groups, like “Die Brücke”, who influenced him. His work was considered degenerate art by the Nazis, and only after World War II did he regain recognition as one of the greatest German painters (source Wikipedia).
Only in 2008 the catalogue raisonné was published at VAN HAM Art Publications – The edition mentions 2.900 paintings and were put together in a 30 year´s work by Karl Bernhard Wohlert. Karl Hofers Œuvre encompasses about 57 years from 1898 to 1955, so a period between ” Jugendstil” to the “Klassischen Moderne”.
The presented letter is a 2p letter written by Hofer to Hermann Schmitt (1874-1932), the former minister of interior of the “Weimarer Republic” in 1923. Schmitt had a photograph of the (today probably lost painting ) of his very first version”Die Kahnfahrt” and wanted to buy this painting. At that time Paul Cassirer, the well known Berlin galerist was already putting the painting to an exhibition in Frankfurt and was almost sold to Hans Posse ((1879-1942) Museum Director of the Dresden Gemälde-Galerie).
But Karl Hofer managed to sell this painting finally to Hermann Schmitt : “I totally forgot to tell you about the result of my meeting with Dr. Wallenstein . The “Kahnfahrt” belongs to you. … Please tell to Dr. Wallenstein in written form, that you buy the painting. So I hope everything is in best order and you won´t be disappointed when you see the original, which is unlikely as the photo does not show a lot. …”
Georg Eisler was an important austrian artist whose works are part of important collections of museums like Albertina in Vienna, British museum or National Portrait Gallery in London. He had a great teacher and supporter : Oskar Kokoschka. Georg Eisler met Oskar Kokoschka 1944 in London at the time of Kokoschka´s exile. The letter I show here is from 1946 (Georg Eisler was at the age of 18(!)) and Kokoschka already saw the big talent of Georg Eisler at that time. Kokoschka writes recommendations how to continue in order to be and become an artist. “I mean, that the Academy of Fine Arts or – in case it is not existing anymore – another institution should help you to study several years until you think you can stand on your own feet. You have enough talent for that …” Kokoschka mentions, that Eisler has ” the modesty in the judgement of his own prospects and constraints of his own capabilities..” At the end of the letter he asks Eisler for “…do not forget of the little ones, the youth of Austria, which to help our most important duty is… doing that an artist can prove oneself … in a truthful social task”
I was a bit , let´s say “shocked” when I read the letter from Oskar Kokoschka – even in his lifetime lots of fakes (or “paintings wrongly attributed to him ” ) were already “cruising” in the Art-world. I do not want to know how many there might be out there today! So watch out when you are planning to buy a Kokoschka …
Die Zauberflöte production that Wilhelm Furtwängler had prepared with the painter Oskar Kokoschka for the Felsenreitschule was taken over by Georg Solti. Werner Egk’s Irische Legende (“Irish Legend”) received its world premiere under the baton of George Szell, while Rudolf Kempe gave Salzburg its first hearing of Pfitzner’s Palestrina. The ballet of the Vienna State Opera presented four evenings devoted to contemporary scores: Stravinsky’s Perséphone and Honegger’s La Danse des Morts. Behind the scenes a battle raged for the successor to Furtwängler, who had dominated the Festival in its recent years. A duel soon emerged between Böhm and Karajan. Official negotiations with Karajan began in the autumn. Karajan raised far-reaching demands, wishing not only to function as a conductor but as a stage director. He also demanded the position of artistic director with full authority on all questions related to casting and programming. The Festival had never seen the like before! (Text from http://www.salzburgerfestspiele.at/history/1955)
The photograph shows Oskar Kokoschka mentioning his work in Salzburg. A nice historic document to this event, which I got for my 40th birthday .
Copyright Photo Ellinger