As everything began... "musenseele goes online"
Ludwig and Wilhelm Hofelich -- these two German landscape painters are perhaps just as unknown to you as they were to me when I first came into contact with their work. But before I go into greater detail about these two wonderful artists, I would like to briefly explain how everything began for me.
By a lucky coincidence, I had the opportunity to acquire a large collection of paintings from the dedication of Wilhelm Hofelich -- mainly oil on cardboard or canvas, tempera, pastels and drafts, all without frames and in varying condition.
After framing and hanging the paintings that pleased us the most, I didn't know what to do with the remaining paintings. When I thought about a marketing opportunity, eBay came to mind. One problem - I was quite a novice with computers. I even still wrote letters completely by hand.
So, for my idea to work I first needed the assistance of my children. Obviously pleased that their mother was finally ready to let "modern times" roll, they gave me the first lessons. And, highly motivated, I quickly acquired the most necessary elementary knowledge.
In order to become an eBay member, one must first chose a user name. This required some creativity on my part. Because there are literally millions of members, each conceivable name seemed to be already taken. All kinds of self-creations (including even combinations of Quechua and Spanish!) had already been taken by other existing eBay members.
I recall that my computer spat out, mercilessly, at least 200 attempts, before it finally accepted my input "Musenseele" (which, in German, means "soul of a muse"). Just "Musenseele" -- a dear friend had called me that name once in a poem. And as of January 21, 2004, there was no eBay member with this name!
So I could start!
As a test, I first posted on eBay only some antique books. Then I dared myself on the digital market place with works of Wilhelm Hofelich. To my great surprise his paintings were well received, immediately. I received positive feedback from customers from Germany and abroad.
One of my first customers emailed me pictures of his new acquisition after he had it back from a restorer, professionally cleaned and framed -- he shared his enthusiasm and joy with me. An active and interesting email exchange developed with an increasing circle of faithful Hofelich customers.
And there were wonderful moments: One eBayer won a motive of Stuttgart, which showed the hill from which he tobogganed in his childhood days. Another one discovered "his" island, which he had wandered through as a little boy during innumerable holiday stays with his parents and on which he set his heart today! Another purchased a painting that exactly depicts the row of houses to be seen from his window.
Personal meetings with kind people, often with good feeling for art, set the highlights of some transactions, especially when they picked up their paintings in person.
The busier I became with the paintings of Wilhelm Hofelich, the more I began to be interested in the painter's personality and background. And I also felt deeply inside an increasingly responsibility to inform others of this nearly forgotten landscapist.
In the "Vollmer" (General Encyclopedia of Art of the 20th Century) there was not much to find. Therefore, I would have to research and investigate myself. Fortunately I had secured some documents, letters and old newspaper cuttings, as well as the Hofelich Family Chronicle, from 1914, which could serve as the sources.
And so I started to read old tattered newspaper articles set in Gothic (black letter). And I tried to decipher handwritten notes in "Sütterlin" (old German scripture), which I never had learned. This was quite difficult. I would like to pass on the results of my efforts gladly to you, because I frequently get inquiries and requests for more information about the painters.
I begin chronologically with Ludwig Hofelich, Wilhelm's father. Here I revert to "Thieme/Becker" (General Encyclopedia of Visual Arts), to the Family Chronicle as well as to some documents from private property.