"For those who wished, Bali was indeed a paradise, but a very human one. Although visions of celestial nymphs would never fail to take hold of Western spectators to the mysterious Balinese temple ceremonies under the full moon and in the glow of minute coconut oil lamps, these sublime creatures stood on the same earth that lies beneath our feet.
Into this complex, intense, and very foreign world Willem and Maria Hofker arrived at the beginning of 1938. Here, they and their art flourished and took root, convincing them that they had found their final home. Unknowing witnesses to the end of an era, in a sense the Hofker found and lost their paradise, suffering the horror of a Japanese internment camp and permanent separation from their beloved island, only to discover that it lived on within them and their art. Their legacy is a precious series of paintings and stories, recreating the magic kingdom of Bali through the eyes of the artists." (Bruce Carpenter, Willem Hofker, Painter of Bali, Pictures Publishers, The Netherlands, 1993, p. 13).
Bruce Carpenter began his account of the artist Willem Hofker with the above words, aptly capturing the essence of the artist's works in Bali. Just a few days after their arrival in Bali, the Hofkers saw the impressive and well known ceremony whereby the ashes of the deceased were cast into the sea off Sanur coast; the ceremony left the Hofkers in awe and respectful of the Balinese culture and tradition, a sentiment which the artist strove to express through his works.
Just like Covarrubias and Le Mayeur who were both fascinated with the graceful and beautiful Balinese girls, Hofker also constantly depicted them on canvas as well as in drawings. However, unlike Covarrubias' stylised renditions and Le Mayeur's impressionistic representations, Hofker studiously painted in the style of the Western Classicists which revealed his training from the Haagse Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, the Hague Academy of Fine Art. His superb draughtsmanship is particularly evident in his drawings, while the dark tones and profound perspective found in his oils are a direct influence from the Hague School.
What distinguishes Hofker's works from the many foreign and native artists who were also painting in Bali, is the theatrical quality in them. The models were always poised and self-possessed as if they were in the middle of the stage, conscious of the glances of their contemporaries as well as posterity. Be it the dancers, weavers or the girls the artist met by chance, they always appeared elegant and possess an air of nobility on the canvas.