Penitent Woman



Hofman, Vlatislav b. 1884, Jicin, Czech Republic. d. 1964, Prague, Czech Republic


Penitent Woman c.1921, signed “H” in the plate, lower right


Coloured linocut


Wove, 29 x 20 cm


Excellent. There are handling creases to the margins and one small tear upper right of the sheet, however none of these imperfections affect the image that has excellent ink coverage. The print has been expertly custom framed using museum standard boards and mounts

Realisation / Published:

Print 5 of the Physiognomy Album, 1921

Reference / Literature:

see Burkhardt, 1982, Vlatislav Hofman, Architektur des bohmischen Kubismus


acquired in 1966, Artbiznis, Czech Republic, acquired by Salon, 2015


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In keeping with his interest in New Testament themes, and in particular, Marian imagery, Hofman’s work in this instance, is one of extraordinary beauty that challenges perceptions one may have had about the apocryphal woman. The Mother of God is in this rare, coloured lino-cut is depicted in multi-coloured and tessellated forms, with her head bent and one arm raised as if in submission and deep contemplation. Another work in the Inventory, “Maria” also challenges notions of femininity and beauty and the role of women had in the New Testament. Both works are outstanding examples of Hofman’s cubism, where rather than dissecting and rearranging forms on and across the pictorial plane, the artist used strong lines that alter, rather than change, the shape of the form the artist choses to represent.

In doing so, Hofman’s interest in the science behind the human condition is made manifest. It is after all, emotion, Hoffman believed, that made people ‘human’ and in Penitent Woman (although it must be said that by contemporary standards the title seems somewhat patronising), was one of a series of prints he produced for a folio that explored human physiognomy.