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Josef Hofer, who has been a resident of an Austrian institution for more than 30 years, does not speak. He draws. Tirelessly. In the metaphoric mirror that he uses and reaches out to us, people attempt to flee from the straitjacket of the frame with eroticized and untamed grace. His works - to which Michel Thévoz has devoted several essays - depict a founding duality between body and psyche. Present in numerous museum collections, he is also part of great private collections: A. de Galbert (France), A. Shaker (Switzerland) and even in the collection of A. Rainer (Austria), who considers him “one of the greatest of the brut contemporary artists.” A significant number of his works was donated to the Centre Pompidou collection in 2021 while the gallery became the owner of his estate in 2022.

josef hofer drawing - © © florian moser, christian berst — art brut
Date 1945 —
Country Austria

Josef Hofer might not speak, but he draws constantly. He was born in 1945 and spent his early life on a farm in Upper Austria. The family lived in isolation since Josef and his brother both suffered from learning difficulties and hearing and speech problems – Joseph also had impaired mobility – and his father wished to spare them from being teased by the locals and, more importantly, to protect them from the Nazis and, later, the Soviets. When Josef’s father died in 1982, his mother took him and his brother to live in Kirschlag, giving him the chance for some social contact and the opportunity to attend a day clinic. These changes proved beneficial, and Josef even spoke a few words. He later became an inpatient at an institution in Ried, where Elisabeth Telsnig spotted his love of drawing and encouraged his creativity.

Pepi, as he signs his works, observed and narrated his own life. His works are a mirror reflecting himself and the spectator and revealing the hypnotic infancy of art. As Michel Thévoz writes, “Josef Hofer is in a state of grace” – an erotic, untrammelled form of grace where the body strives to break free from the prison of the frame. The sensual, raw nudity shines through the confident, unpolished lines in warm hues.

Since the retrospective organized by the Collection de l’Art Brut in 2003, numerous exhibitions and publications have been dedicated to him. His drawings, which we first presented at the gallery in 2008, are now part of the world’s largest collections of outsider art.
Presented by the Museum of Everything in Turin in 2010, a retrospective accompanied by a catalog was dedicated to him the same year in Prague. Another, a unique event in the history of the Collection de l’Art Brut, was dedicated to him again in 2011 in Lausanne, coupled this time with the publication of a significant monograph.
Josef Hofer was featured twice at the Maison Rouge in 2014 in the exhibitions “Le Mur, œuvres de la collection Antoine de Galbert” and “art brut, collection abcd/Bruno Decharme.” Since then, a set of his drawings was exhibited in 2022 at DOX in Prague in the exhibition POWER(LESS), as well as at the National Museum Soares dos Reis in Porto, while over 250 of his drawings were presented at the Kunstmuseum Thurgau / Ittinger Museum in Warth, Switzerland.

Please contact us to inquire about the available works.
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2015
27.56 x 19.69 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2014
11.42 x 16.54 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2018
23.62 x 17.32 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2013
11.42 x 16.54 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2015
23.62 x 17.32 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2014
11.42 x 16.54 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2015
11.42 x 16.54 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2004
23.62 x 17.32 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2013
11.42 x 16.54 in
Josef Hofer transmutations
Josef Hofer : transmutations - © christian berst — art brut

Preface : Elisabeth Telsnig & Philippe Dagen
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Josef Hofer : transmutations, from December 5th, 2015 to January 16th, 2016.
Revised and expanded version published in 2022.

Portreto de la animo
collection Treger Saint-Silvestre, Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, Porto, Portugal. From July 13 to November 12, 2023.
treasures. From December 8 to January 22, 2022.
Josef Hofer :
ein lebenswerk, Kunstmuseum Thurgau / Ittinger Museum, Suisse. From July 10 to December 18, 2022.
first edition, Hangar 14, Bordeaux. From July 8 to 10, 2022.
DOX centre d'art contemporain, Prague. June 3, 2022.
View more
do the write thing :
read between the lines #3, main gallery. From April 2 to May 22, 2022.
2022, Palexpo, Geneva. From March 3 to 6, 2022.
Josef Hofer in
“Art is a seismograph of society”, Center for Contemporary Art in the Glass Palace, Augsburg. From January 14 to February 13, 2022.
Art Brut in the Giacosa-Ferraiuolo collection, Rome. From September 25, 2021 to January 30, 2022.
World Exhibition, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo. From July 16 to September 5, 2021.
online viewing rooms, online. From March 4 to 7, 2021.
Sexual Personae
curated by Alison M. Gingeras, Hôtel Drouot, Paris. From October 21 to 29, 2020.
#47, cancelled. From October 21 to 25, 2020.
roots of abstract
Rathausgalerie Kunsthalle, Munich . From October 2 to November 11, 2020.
Danser Brut
Musée du Docteur Guislain & Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles. From September 24, 2020 to January 10, 2021.
In the flesh
real bodies, at the gallery. From June 14 to July 11, 2020.
in abstracto #2
at the gallery. From March 5 to June 6, 2020.
À deux
by Gustavo Giacosa, galerie Zola, Aix-en-Provence. From January 17 to March 7, 2020.
drawing now 2019
Carreau du Temple. From March 27 to 30, 2019.
Leben in art brut
coll. Hannah Rieger, Bildraum, Vienna. From July 14 to August 16, 2018.
do the write thing 2
read between the lines, at the gallery. From April 26 to June 2, 2018.
Histories of violence
a dialogue between the works of the treger saint silvestre collection, Núcleo de arte da oliva, Portugal. From April 14, 2018 to February 28, 2019.
drawing now 2018
Carreau du Temple. From March 22 to 25, 2018.
architectural dwellings, at the gallery. From December 9, 2017 to January 20, 2018.
3rd Biennale de l’Art Brut
Bodies, Lausanne, Suisse . From November 17, 2017 to April 29, 2018.
Living in art brut
123 works from the Hannah Rieger Collection, Musuem Krems an der Donau. From September 8 to October 26, 2017.
The Museum of everything
Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania. From June 17, 2017 to April 2, 2018.
The Golden Ratio Laws
Oliva Creative Factory, Portugal. From April 29 to September 30, 2017.
Art Brut
A Story of Individual Mythologies, Treger Saint Silvestre Collection, Portugal. From January 1 to February 26, 2017.
The eloquent place
new works by Josef Hofer and Harald Stoffers, Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York. From September 8 to October 8, 2016.
Textual Poetry of Art Brut, Entrepot Gallery, Monaco. From July 12 to September 29, 2016.
On The Wire
by Jean-Hubert Martin, at the gallery. From April 9 to May 22, 2016.
Salo IV
Erotic Drawings Fair, Paris. From April 8 to 10, 2016.
Josef Hofer
Transmutations, at the gallery. From December 5, 2015 to January 16, 2016.
at the Gallery. From September 12 to October 10, 2015.
NADA Art Fair
2015, New York. From May 14 to 17, 2015.
Art brut live
DOX centre for contemporary art, Praha. From March 27 to August 17, 2015.
Drawing Now 2015
Carreau du Temple, Paris. From March 25 to 29, 2015.
The Schiele Incident
Recent Works by Josef Hofer, at the Gallery in New York City. From February 19 to April 12, 2015.
do the write thing
read between the lines, new york gallery. From October 30 to December 21, 2014.
Art brut
ABCD Collection / Bruno Decharme, la Maison rouge, Paris. From October 17, 2014 to January 18, 2015.
Cadré et Recadré
by Terezie Zemankova, Galerie Kabinet T, République tchèque. From September 16 to October 31, 2014.
The Wall
Antoine de Galbert Collection , la Maison rouge, Paris. From June 14 to September 21, 2014.
Art brut: breaking the boundaries
curator Christian Berst, Oliva Creative Factory, Sao Joao da Madeira, Portugal. From June 1 to September 11, 2014.
Red House
by Christian Berst , Today Art Musuem, Pékin . From October 26 to November 11, 2013.
outsider art fair
paris. From October 24 to 27, 2013.
Raw Vision
25 years of art brut, Halle Saint Pierre, Paris . From September 18, 2013 to August 22, 2014.
Josef Hofer, nouvelle parution
new release. August 28, 2013.
Drawing Now 2013
Carrousel du louvre, paris. From April 11 to 14, 2013.
Josef Hofer and the mirror
Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne. From March 9 to May 13, 2012.
josef hofer
alter ego, at the gallery. From December 2, 2011 to January 14, 2012.
salon du dessin contemporain 2011
drawing now, caroussel du louvre. From March 25 to 28, 2011.
art paris 2010
From March 18 to 22, 2010.
salon du dessin contemporain 2009
From March 19 to 24, 2009.
salon du dessin contemporain
From April 10 to 14, 2008.
josef hofer
corps à corps, at the gallery. From January 11 to February 16, 2008.
Josef Hofer
monography, Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne. From June 6 to August 24, 2003.
christian berst art brut, booth r+1 46 at BAD+, Hangar 14, Bordeaux, 2022 - © christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *historias de violencia*, curator : gustavo giacosa, oliva creative factory, sao joao da madeira, portugal, 2018. - © oliva creative factory, christian berst — art brut
Exhibition view of *Josef Hofer : alter ego*, christian berst art brut, Paris, 2012 - © © christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *in abstracto #2*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2020. - © christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
*drawing now, focus artist : josef hofer*, le carreau du temple, paris, from march 28th to 31st, 2019. - © christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
Press review
Portraits (plus ou moins) bruts
Marc Lenot, Lunettes Rouges, Le Monde. October 3, 2023.
foreword by christian berst on the occasion of the exhibition dedicated to josef hofer at galerie am stein
Christian Berst, Stayinart Collections. June 1, 2023.
Ein Kunstpreis als Erfolgsgeschichte
Sabine Reithmaier, Süddeutsche Zeitung. January 30, 2022.
Welche Kunst empfehlen Künstler?
Rüdiger Heinze, Augsburger Allgemeine. January 26, 2022.
Schau mir ins Auge
Christa Sigg, Donaukurier - Kultur. January 19, 2022.
View more
Kunst ist ein Seismograph der Gesellschaft
La Rédaction, A3kulture. December 30, 2021.
L’art brut met un pied à Rome
Olivier Tosseri, Le Journal Des Arts. October 6, 2021.
Fiac Online viewing rooms : notre sélection
Alexandre Crochet, The Art Newspaper. February 28, 2021.
Christian Berst : « L’art brut est au cœur et non à la marge »
Marie-Laure Desjardins, Art Hebdo Médias. October 22, 2020.
déconfinement : 7 expositions à voir à paris en mai 2020
La Rédaction, Télérama Sortir. May 18, 2020.
les galeries parisiennes en mode numérique
Anne-lys Thomas, The Art Newspaper Daily. April 10, 2020.
coronavirus: les galeries d’art passent en mode virtuel
Guy Boyer, Connaissance Des Arts. March 27, 2020.
fama leva art brut para itu
Jamyle Rkain, Arte ! Brasileiros. September 26, 2019.
Josef Hofer, an explorer of the Self
La Rédaction, The Spirit Of The Eye. April 7, 2019.
graphomanies brutes
Claire Margat, Art Press. December 7, 2018.
hétérotopies : architectures habitées
Bénédicte Philippe, Télérama Sortir. January 8, 2018.
L’art brut mis en avant à la galerie l’Entrepôt
Monaco Info. July 14, 2016.
Josef Hofer
Philippe Dagen, Le Monde. January 13, 2016.
Exhibition of works by Josef Hofer opens at Christian Berst art brut December 8, 2015.
Exposition Transmutations - Josef Hofer - Galerie Christian Berst Art Brut
La Rédaction, Artistik Rezo. December 8, 2015.
The Schiele Incident
Paul Brown , Raw Vision. August 5, 2015.
Artists to Watch at NADA New York 2015
Artspace Editors, Artspace. May 22, 2015.
Le dessin contemporain dans tous ses états
AFP, L’Essentiel. March 26, 2015.
L’art brut s’invite à Drawing Now
Agathe Chéron, Art/ctualité. March 25, 2015.
en marge (Josef Hofer)
Nathalie De Saint Phalle, FauxQ. March 2, 2015.
Text Messages from the Margins
Rob Colvin, Hyperallergic. December 8, 2014.
l’art brut sous les feux des projecteurs
La Rédaction, La October 15, 2014.
L’art brut à contre courant
Aurelie Romanacce, Pascaline Vallee Et Patrick Le Fur, Arts Magazine. August 29, 2014.
5 clefs art brut le singulier en question(s)
Colin Cyvoct, L’oeil. October 18, 2013.
Dessins (prière de toucher)
Philippe Ducat, Oh Cet Echo. April 16, 2013.
Zwischen Playmobil und Selbstbetrachtung, Die auBergewöhnliche Welt des Josef Hofer
AQ. November 1, 2012.
Christian Boltanski & Philippe Dagen : l'art brut est-il soluble dans l'art contemporain ?(extraits)
Christine Dory. January 26, 2012.
L'innocent accroché aux murs
Christophe Donner, Le Monde - Le Magazine. December 24, 2011.
Josef Hofer, alter ego
Marie-Jeanne Caprasse, Paris Art. December 22, 2011.
Josef Hofer, alter ego
Bénédicte Philippe, Telerama Sortir. December 14, 2011.
interview of christian berst on josef hofer exhibition for Paris Web TV
Sandrine Lancien, Présenté Par Smahen, Officiel Galeries Et Musé December 13, 2011.
Josef Hofer, alter ego
L'officiel Des Galeries Et Musées. December 2, 2011.
L'émotion brute dans le guide du marché de l'art 2011
Le Figaro / Beaux Arts. April 15, 2011.
They are n°1
Surface. August 20, 2010.
Art Paris nouvelle formule, Foire ou spectacle
Beaux Arts. March 1, 2010.
Josef Hofer : corps à corps
David Maclagan, Raw Vision. July 2, 2008.
Invitation à l'exposition : Josef Hofer : corps à corps
Animula Vagula. January 15, 2008.
LaM, musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut de Lille Métropole
Musée national d’art moderne (Pompidou)
collection de l’Art brut
Carmen and Daniel Klein collection
Antoine Frérot collection
View more
abcd / Bruno Decharme collection
Treger Saint Silvestre collection
Antoine de Galbert collection
Hannah Rieger collection
Arnulf Rainer collection
Trinkhall museum
art)&(marges collection
collection Sylvie and Stéphane Corréard
Christian Boltanski & Philippe Dagen : l’art brut est-il soluble dans l’art contemporain ?
Language French
artgenève 2022
Josef Hofer

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