Munich at Villa Stuck ‘Evelyn Hofer (1922 – 2009) Retrospektive’

by Venetia Kapernekas

18. Juni – 20. September 2015

A visit yesterday, on a  hot afternoon in Munich, at Villa Stuck, a great exhibition by Evelyn Hofer (1922 – 2009)

Evelyn Hofer
Mädchen mit Fahrrad | Girl with Bicycle, Dublin 1966
Courtesy Galerie m Bochum © Estate of Evelyn Hofer

Evelyn Hofer’s work has influenced such photographers as Thomas Struth, Joel Sternfeld, Adam Bartos, Rineke Dijkstra, Judith Joy Ross, and Alex Soth.There have been retrospectives of her work at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne (1994); the Aarggauer Kunsthaus in Switzerland (2004); and the Fotomuseum The Hague (2006). Last year her work was shown in Munich’s Villa Stuck as part of the Goetz Collection in the exhibition “Street Life and Home Stories” alongside the work of the photographers William Eggleston, August Sander, Diane Arbus, Thomas Struth, and Nan Goldin.

When Hofer was eleven her family fled Nazi Germany for Switzerland. She decided she wanted to be a photographer and set about it methodically. She began with an apprenticeship at the Studio Bettina, a portrait studio, and took private lessons with Hans Finsler, one of the pioneers of the “New Objectivity” movement.


Evelyn Hofer
Queensboro Bridge, New York 1964
Courtesy Galerie m Bochum © Estate of Evelyn Hofer

Hofer’s studies covered everything from photographic technique to art theory. She didn’t just learn composition and the underlying theories of aesthetics, she also learned the chemistry involved in producing prints. Beginning in the early 1960s she became one of the first fine art photographers to adopt the use of color film and the complicated dye transfer printing process as a regular practice. Throughout her long career, Hofer continued to shoot in both color and black and white – determining which was the more apt for the picture at hand. (from Vivid Remediations)
After spending several years in Mexico in 1942, where published the first photographs in the Mexican magazine Mañana, which was designed in the style of international Illustrated as Life, Hofer draws in 1946 finally to New York. There she takes her freelance work as a photographer for newspapers and magazines and has worked mainly as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar and later for Vogue…(Villa Stuck press) 

Hofer established with her  city portraits characteristic motifs and themes that run through her entire oeuvre. Especially her portraits recall the formal structure of the image conception as it is known by August Sander, whose tradition they evolved independently. This city portraits form a central chapter in the exhibition.



Evelyn Hofer
Miranda [Richardson], London 1980
Courtesy Galerie m Bochum © Estate of Evelyn Hofer


On  third floor at Villa Stuck, one may see the orders for Time-Life Library in the late 1960s, followed in the 1970s, photo essays for magazines such as Life International, The New York Times Magazine and the London Sunday Times Magazine. 


Frühling | Springtime, Washington 1965
Courtesy Galerie m Bochum © Estate of Evelyn Hofer

In addition,  Hofer characteristic portraits of artists, portraits of literary figures and famous personalities of the late 1970s are represented by the mid-1990s in a range, such as with photographs of Saul Steinberg, Jean-Michel Basquiat or Andy Warhol. Parallel to this series of portraits of unknown models, such as in Just Married (1974), Basque People (1980) or People of Soglio (1991) to see.


Evelyn Hofer Lee Krasner’s Shoes, Pollock Studio, Long Island, N.Y., 1988

Another complex of works created over the years a variety of interiors from renowned houses and villas for magazines like House and Garden and Connoisseur. Photographs of the Villa Medici in Rome, or the Maison de Verre in Paris are classical compositions…



Evelyn Hofer
Villa Medici, Empfangshalle, Rom | Hall, Rome 1982
veröffentlicht | published in House and Garden, Januar | January 1984
Courtesy Galerie m Bochum © Estate of Evelyn Hofer

In the small last room of the exhibition, Hofer’s still life, a self-contained series of only eight photographs shows in a few shots, the essence of a classic still life composition. With symbolic contents charged compiled for decorative pleasure or viewed from purely pictorial aspects are Hofer Still life mimesis of nature, follow the realistic nature of photography and are also independent works of art formed the inspiration for the painting. 



film series: accompanying the retrospective EVELYN HOFER, the Museum Villa Stuck in cooperation with the Workshop Cinema, Fraunhoferstr. 9, 80469 Munich, (documentaries and feature films about and with photographers); film screenings start every Sunday, by 18 clock, on 26.7., 23.8., 6.9. and 09/13/2015, admission € 6, -.
The film series starts with the feature film “High Art” on Sunday 26 July 18.00 clock. Lisa Cholodenko’s first feature film deals with the friendship and love relationship between Syd, a young editor at a New York photography magazine, and Lucy Berliner, a drug-addicted, once celebrated and now reclusive photographer. At the same time the photo scene is mirrored in the New York of the 1990s – the boundary between art and life blurred. The photographs Berliner, all recorded by JoJo Whilden, Nan Goldin’s work is based on.
High Art, USA 1998, written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, Camera: Tami Reiker, average: Amy E. Duddelston, Music: Shudder to Think, Cast: Radha Mitchell, Ally Sheedy, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Sage, Gabriel Mann

on Columbia Film: A conversation with Lisa Cholodenko

Evelyn Hofer (1922 – 2009)
Zur Ausstellung erscheint eine Monographie im Steidl Verlag mit einem Vorwort von Michael Buhrs und Beiträgen von Catharina Graf, Andreas Pauly, Sabine Schmid, Bernd Stiegler und Thomas Weski.
Evelyn Hofer
2015. Hrsg. Michael Buhrs und Sabine Schmid
Steidl, Hardcover, 288 Seiten
ISBN 978-3-95829-015-0
€ 35,00



Evelyn Hofer, Italien │ Italy 1951/51
© Estate of Evelyn Hofer

Evelyn Hofer (1922 – 2009): Video zur Retrospektive im Museum Villa Stuck

more here(NYTimes)  and photomuseumdenhaag