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Artist: Heinrich Höfer (German, 1825 - 1878)
Title: 'Homewards Through the Snowy Forrest'
Size: 61 x 82 cm (24 x 32,2 inch)
Signed: lower right; Heinrich München 1874
Inventory no.: HH761
Price: € 14.000,-
Heinrich Höfer came from a respected Eisfelder Tuchmacher family, which was impoverished by the advance of the textile industry. His grandfather was mayor of this small town in the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen, near Coburg. At fourteen, he lost his father and had to earn a living. He had drawing talent and there were porcelain factories in the area; So he learned the craft of the porcelain painter. However, Heinrich wanted more. At the age of 22, he left for the first time to learn portraiture in Prague. After two years, he returned, with little success, because, as he wrote to his brother, he lacked a knowledgeable guide and he had to earn any support "his bread."
In 1851, at the age of 25, he set out again for the Walz, via Dresden, Prague and Linz to Styria, to succeed as a landscape painter. This succeeded - at least financially. In 1855 he settled in the art metropolis of Munich and immediately joined the Munich Kunstverein. There he, the autodidact, quickly realized how much he still had to learn. He became friends with the landscape painter of the same name, Karl Millner, who introduced him to his art and introduced him to his own role models Carl Rottmann and Eduard Schleich the Elder. Even earlier, he had come across Salomon Gessner's "Letter on Landscape Painting" on the Old Dutch landscape painters such as Berchem, Swanevelt and Waterloo, Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin as role models, which he could now copy in the Munich Pinakothek.
To systematically study nature and collect motives for his ideal landscapes, Heinrich traveled extensively each year. They took him to the Bavarian foothills of the Alps, to Salzburg, to Tyrol and to Switzerland. He became an accomplished and successful landscape painter, whose works were well sold abroad. He worked regularly at Chiemsee and on the Fraueninsel, in whose artist's chronicle he immortalized himself in 1863 with a watercolor. In 1867 he married the doctor's daughter Mathilde Nenninger from Eisfeld. From this marriage came forth two sons; one, Wilhelm, became a doctor, the other artist: the later Scholle painter and youth illustrator Adolf Höfer. In the Gabelsbergerstraße in Munich, Heinrich purchased a three-storey residential building in which the family lived on the first floor; In addition, he had a rear building built with six painting studios. The painter Christian Mali was among his friends, as well as prominent Munich, as the architects Albert Schmidt and Georg von Hauberrisser.
But luck was short-lived. The family was financially secure through the rental income. But Mathilde died in 1873 and five years later Heinrich himself at the age of only 52, both from tuberculosis. With his second wife Amalie, b. Ruhwandl, also a doctor's daughter from a respected Munich family, he still had opportunity for the long-awaited trip to Italy. Amalie raised the two sons from their first marriage; her own two daughters died in childhood. She survived her husband for almost 40 years and died in 1917.
Heinrich Höfer began as a portrait painter, with which he financed his early art trips. Are handed down u. a. Family portraits, including three self-portraits. He is known and recognized primarily as a landscape painter. He is attributed to the Munich School and the Chiemsee painters. His works are still traded at good prices on the international art market today.
Heinrich Höfer, mountain landscape
His ideal landscapes include, above all, alpine and Chiemsee motifs, often with the Zugspitze massif or the glacier mountains of the Bernese Oberland in the background. In the middle ground, rural scenes with cattle or horse-drawn carriages and small, detailed staffage figures. Another popular subject are Nuremberg city scenes. Following old Dutch models, he also made winter landscapes again and again, often with reflecting ice surfaces.
On the Fraueninsel in the Chiemsee, watercolor
From his travels he brought with him numerous watercolors and drawings, which served as templates for him. Many of them can be found in the Maillinger Collection of the Munich City Museum and in the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
His paintings can be found, or found in numerous museums, eg. For example, in the Municipal Museum Bamberg (winter landscape), in the Silesian Museum Wroclaw (Bavarian mountain village in winter), in the Upper Austrian Provincial Gallery Linz (Almhütte im Pinzgau) and in the Braith Mali Museum Biberach.
Since 1858 he showed his works regularly at exhibitions in Munich, u.a. also in Berlin, Dresden, Lübeck, Lucerne.
A first comprehensive solo exhibition leads the castle museum of his hometown Eisfeld in 2014 by. For this purpose, an illustrated catalog raisonné was published, supplemented by his "Drawings and Sketches" and his "Letters."