The Museum Kurhaus Kleve is currently showing the retrospective of Evelyn Hofer, the German-American photographer who changed the aesthetics of photography through the snapshot. Here's what's up in Encounters. The Camera: A Showcase.
Deemed as “America's most famous unknown photographer” by the New York Times, Evelyn Hofer was a portraitist and documentary photographer. After failing to enter the Paris Conservatory, Hofer turned to photography and apprenticed in Zurich and Basel. In 1946, Hofer moved to New York and worked with Alexey Brodovitch from Harper's Bazaar. Hofer was the type to paint images in their most intimate and human way – such style also applies when she's capturing landscapes and still lifes with her 4 x 5 view camera.
The most interesting about Hofer's style is how she captures in a very straightforward way, yet is capable of imbuing the unspoken atmosphere of sadness and ambiguity in her subject. Richard Lindner from the Village Voice once said:
“What fascinates me concerning the works of Evelyn is that she portrays everything; it might be a tree, a human being, or even a chair. She always paints a portrait. She never considers things just like an object; the object becomes always a dramatic expression. She has a poetic and romantic approach, expressing a certain innocence; she is indeed a poet.”
The exhibition will feature around 200 photographs by Hofer, with her portraiture as the starting point as it moves on to her series about New York, Dublin, and Washington. Her studio shots, artist portraits, and works for publications and magazines, her projects with the People of Soglio and Basque People Insight are also included. Unseen pictures from New York, including Marlene Dietrich and Andy Warhol's living quarters, are also being shown.
The show will be up until 23 June 2019, so make sure to visit Kleve and check out this rare exhibition of an understated master.
Images are from the press kit, courtesy of the Museum Kurhaus Kleve.