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 Willem Gerard Hofker  (1902 - 1981)

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Lived/Active: Netherlands      Known for: portrait, figure, genre, land-and townscape painting

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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Willem Hofker was born in the Hague and first studied at the Academy of Fine Arts there and later at the National Academy in Amsterdam. He was also taught by Willem Witsen and Issac Israel who were friends of his father, an amateur artist and writer.

Hofker won 2nd prize at the Prix de Rome in 1924 and settled in Amsterdam with his wife Maria who was also a painter. There they supported themselves mainly through executing portraits.

After arriving in Indonesia in 1938 he and Maria traveled extensively, sketching and painting. The Hofkers socialized with many painters including Spies, Strasser, Meyer and their good friend Rudolf Bonnet. In 1940 the couple moved to Ubud.

During World War II Hofker and his friend Bonnet were forced to join the KNIL army in Subaya, and later he and his wife were interned in separate prison camps. During this period most of Maria Hofker's paintings and sketches were lost.

Reluctant to join the Indonesian nationalists at the end of the war, the Hofkers returned home to Holland where they remained until the end of their lives. While in Holland, Hofker continue to depict the people and landscapes of Bali.

Geringer Art Ltd.

Biography from Tobin Reese Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Willem Gerard Hofker (1902-1981) was a Dutch painter, etcher, printmaker and draftsman. He is well-known for his portrayal of Balinese people and landscapes.

Hofker was born in The Hague, Netherlands. His father named him after the painter Willem Witsen and gave him an early education in the arts; he arranged for art lessons with his namesake Witsen and also Isaac Israel. He studied art at the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten (State Academy of Fine Arts) in Amsterdam. His art career started in earnest when he won 2nd place at the prestigious Prix de Rome. He began to receive commissions for murals and portraits, eventually being asked to paint Queen Wilhelmina for the Dutch East-Indies. He and his wife, Maria Rueter, delivered the painting to the colonies in 1938.

Hofker and Rueter liked Bali so much that they decided to stay, eventually settling in Ubud in 1940. Hofker painted his most famous works during this period, focusing on the people, culture, and landscapes of Bali. He strove to represent the different way of life that he experienced here compared with his metropolitan life back in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, wartime led to the couple's internment in several camps after they were forced to join the military, and when the war ended, the uncomfortable political climate caused them to return to the Netherlands in 1946, settling in Zomerdijkstraat, a suburb of Amsterdam.

On his return, Hofker was met with a host of portrait assignments, allowing his professional, if not creative, life to flourish. His representational paintings, however, did not find favor with an art scene which was increasingly turning toward abstraction. However, in the 1970s, the art world began to give his Bali paintings the attention they deserved. Such was his popularity that he was able to publish these works in a book entitled Bali gezien door Willem Hofker (Bali as seen by Willem Hofker) in 1978. Unfortunately, he passed away shortly after, in 1981. His works have only grown in popularity since his death and he remains a sought-after artist to this day.

Source: Ian Martyn for Tobin Reese Fine Art

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