A finely engraved mezzotint etching by Willem Gerard Hofker (1902-1981), signed by Hofker. The print states "'Eigen bezit' (translated: own property), this indicates that Hofker kept this etch for himself. Shown in the image is Ni Kenyung, who is known as the favourite model of Hofker. Willem Hofker is famous for his Balinese scenes and his works are much sought after by collectors.
Willem Gerard Hofker
After his education at the Hague Art Academy and the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam, Willem Gerard Hofker married Maria Rueter in 1930. In addition to being a painter and draftsman, W.G. Hofker was a gifted graphic artist and a master of all media: oil, watercolour, conté-crayon, but also etchings, mezzotints and lithographs.
In Amsterdam, he carried out several decorative assignments during the 1920s, amongst others for the Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Maatschappij (KNSM) for whom he made a few mural paintings of ships. His reputation as a portrait painter was such that he received the assignment in 1936 to paint a portrait of Queen Wilhemina for the head office of the Koninklijke Pakketvaart Maatschappi (KPM), the Royal Packet Navigation Company in Batavia.
In 1938 Hofker and his wife came by invitation to the Dutch East Indies where they settled in Bali after visiting various places on Java. During the Second World War, Hofker and his wife were interned by the Japanese. After his repatriation in 1946, Hofker settled in Amsterdam. His Indonesian period was particularly fruitful. In addition to a relatively small number of oil paintings, he produced a large number of pastel drawings. With great refinement, he produced a romantic picture of Balinese life. Beautiful Balinese girls and men on their way to the temple or in their daily activities are often the subjects of his work.
Hofker painted a large range of topics, from canal views to flower still lifes, from nudes to atmospheric landscapes with hidden country houses. The Hofkers socialized with many painters, including Spies, Strasser, Meyer and their good friend Rudolf Bonnet. In 1940 the couple moved to Ubud and today, many of his paintings are exhibited in the ARMA and the Neka Museum in Ubud.
Mezzoting is a printmaking process of the intaglio family, technically a drypoint method. It was the first tonal method to be used, enabling half-tones to be produced without using line- or dot-based techniques like hatching, cross-hatching or stipple. Mezzotint achieves tonality by roughening a metal plate with thousands of little dots made by a metal tool with small teeth, called a "rocker". In printing, the tiny pits in the plate retain the ink when the face of the plate is wiped clean. This technique can achieve a high level of quality and richness in the print.