Coloured chalks on light brown paper
326 x 250 mm. (12 3/4 x 9 7/8 in.)
Hoffbauer was born in Paris in 1875, the son of an Alsatian architect, artist and archaeologist. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Fernand Cormon and Gustave Moreau, he was a contemporary of Matisse, Rouault and Marquet. He won an Honorable Mention in the Salon of 1896 and academic prizes in 1898-9. At the Paris Universal Exposition he won a bronze medal. On a French government traveling scholarship called the Prix National du Salon, Hoffbauer discovered Italy, Greece and Egypt. Then the government purchased Champs de Bataille in 1904. On a second scholarship in late 1909, Hoffbauer visited New York and was given two solo shows in 1911 and 1912 at Knoedlers, where his work would be handled in America. In the introduction to the 1912 exhibition catalogue, art writer Arthur Hoeber wrote how the artist assimilated something of our new world energy and alertness. One feels he has caught the spirit of American progress . . . with not a little of its vitality, for these pictures of our city . . . exude American bigness and bustle, the sense of accomplishment despite great obstacles. . . .
Eventually, Hoffbauer would win the coveted Legion of Honor. One of his largest paintings, Dner sur le toit, also referred to as Roof Garden, is a nine-foot-wide painting, now in the National Gallery of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia. At the Paris Salon of 1905, the huge painting was the talk of the town.
Hoffbauer served in the French Army as an official war artist during the first world war, won a Croix de Guerre and was the liaison to the American camouflage section. Recommended by the mural painter James Wall Finn, Hoffbauer received a commission in 1935 to paint murals for Battle Abbey, a Confederate memorial in Richmond, Virginia. Hoffbauer revisited America to accept a commission for a mural (Missouri at War) in the Missouri State Capitol, and was a member of the 1937 Exposition Internationales jury. Two years later he became an American citizen, and finally settled in Rockport (Cape Ann) Massachusetts. The Museum of Modern Art in Paris has one of Hoffbauers battle scenes and for Memorial Hall in Philadelphia Museum he executed Revolt of the Flemish. The artist died on 26 July 1957 in Boston.