‘Jean Spears, dressed as an Italian dancer’, signed and dated 1954 u.r., canvas. 77 x 50 cm.
Provenance:- A gift from the artist to Jean Spears.- Private collection the Netherlands.Literature:Carpenter, B.; Willem Hofker; Painter of Bali, Pictures Publishers, 1993, mentioned on page 206 as 634*: Jean S., dancer, in Italian dress, oil 50 x 75 cm.
Willem Gerard Hofker (1902-1981), educated at the national academy of fine arts inAmsterdam, was a great admirer of art- and music performances. When summer is overand autumn sets in, the cultural season in Holland begins. A time in which Hofkerfrequented the Royal Theater Carré in Amsterdam to see the artists practice or preformtrials. It was a fun and good place to spot ‘a kaleidoscope of characters to portray’, as heonce remarked. Numerous quick sketches of these visits emphasized this enthusiasm.Some of the best performing actors and musicians of the time adorn the small pages ofhis sketchbooks.
It is 1954 when Hofker approaches one of the dancers performing in the famous‘Snip and Snap’ Revue playing in Carré and asks her to pose for him, resulting in thehere presented painting with the mesmerizing portrait of Jean Spears. Jean is an Englishyoung lady, dressed in a striking Italian costume. Her elegant posture emphasizes thelavish folds of the lace and gold embroidery motifs against the black satin fabric, put tothe canvas by Hofker in bold and thick paint. Her intriguing gaze and bare shouldersresembling his well-known Balinese portrayed models, Hofker shows us once again hisextraordinary skill of capturing female beauty. Pleased with the result, he made two morepaintings with Jean in 1955. One portrait in conté on paper, dated 1954, is included inthe collection of the Rijksmuseum, together with the sketches of the best performingartists of his time.
Seline Hofker, October 2018
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