(Dutch, 1902-1981)
Poera Pagan Tankas
signed and dated 'W.G. Hofker. Dec. 1938' (lower centre); titled 'Poera Pagan Tankas Badoeng' (lower left)
chalk and pastel on paper
38 x 28 cm. (15 x 11 in.)
Executed in 1938

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Lot Essay

Willem Gerard Hofker forms a part of the group of Indo-European painters that lived and worked out of Bali in the early 1940s, finding artistic inspiration from the people and surroundings. The following lots from the artist present a selection of works on paper that provide a glimpse into the subjects the captured Hofker's attention during his time in Bali. Unlike working with oils on canvas, the medium of crayon, pastels and charcoal on paper afforded Hofker the ease of mobility as he wandered through the Balinese landscape, spontaneously capturing the characters and architectures that he encountered. The result was detailed studies, as well as quickly captured moments from daily life in Bali.

The portraits of Ni Kenjon (Lot 276), Ni Siti (Lot 277) and Ni Legit Met Goden-Zetel (Lot 279) are fine examples of Hofker's enchantment with the Balinese female form. These women represented the ideal of the romanticised noble savage to be found in the exotic landscape, and he sought to immortalize their elegance and beauty through his art. In all three portraits, Hofker's subjects gaze off page in quiet contemplation, and afford a sense of being depicted in states of natural activity - suggesting an innate rather than studied elegance in their various postures.

Poera Pagan Tankas (Lot 278) presents us with another subject that captured Hofker's imagination whilst in Bali. The architectural landscape of Bali is characterised by grand stone temples rising out of the surrounding greenery, and their portrayal in art has become as iconic as that of the Balinese woman. Hofker's highly detailed rendering of a Badung temple is made dramatic through his techniques of shading and colour, creating a sense of depth and grandeur in the scene. As warm light spills through the grand entrance to the temple, Hofker invites us to enter his vision of the unspoiled beauty and magnificence of Bali.

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