|Hofkers father was a good friend
of Isaac Israels and Willem Witsen after whom his son was named. After seven years in
Amsterdam Art Academy, Hofker set up his own studio, recognised as one of the most
talented young Dutch artists of the era. Maria was the daughter of the noted flower
painter Rueter. By good chance Hofker, who was commissioned by the KPM, to a portrait of
the Queen of Holland for their headquarters in Batavia for 50th anniversary of her
ascendance to the throne in 1938. The young artists and his wife delivered the painting in
After a short trip through Java illness made them decide to head straight to Bali which was already recognised as an artist Mecca. They settled autside Denpasar before moving to Ubud to be closer to Rudolf Bonnet, who was to become Hofkers closest friend. Hofker was fascinated above all things by the sensous beauty of Balinese women. Aided by his thorough academic training he executed numerous drawing and canvases using all types of Balinese women ( and men) often against the background of temple gates (These compositions are still imitated to this day). His absolute mastery of anatomy and perspective resulted in the ultimate and still much copied romantic image of the pristine Balinese beauty. It should be noted that, despite a tendency to control poses and to correct details which he found unaesthetic, Hofker did not consider himself a romantic but realist.
Exhibiting frequently throughout Indonesia, Hofker was very successful. Even Bonnet, who rarely made portraits of women (this is understandable as he was gay) took a lesson from his close friend and added them to his oeuvre. Maria was also a talented artist who created a wonderful journal with small water color sketches very similar to Frida Hollem, a friend who often stayed with them.
Like Bonnet, Hofker and his wife were not immediately imprisoned by the Japanese after their invasion of Bali. When the war started going badly, however, they were all send to concentration camps in Sulawesi. There Willem almost starved to death before liberation and over a hundred of his paintings were lost when the Americans bombed a Japanese war base next to Marias camp. Upon release he had the choice of involuntary induction into the Dutch colonial army or to return to Holland. A pacifist, he chose the letter never to return to Bali again. One of the most highly regarded painters in Indonesia, one can see his work in a special room dedicated to him in the, Museum Neka and in Agung Rais Museum.
other foreign artists :
W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp | C.L Dake | P.A.J. Mooijen | Willem Dooijewaard | Rolland Strasser
John Sten | Walter Spies | Rudolf Bonnet | Miguel Covarrubias | Isaac Israel
Theo Meier | Willem and Maria Hofker | Emilio Ambron | Auke Sonnega | Romuldo Locatelli
Lee Man Fong | Antonio Blanco | Arie Smit | Donald Friend
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