Study of a Girl
Pencil; initialled, inscribed 'L v H s/l W R' and dated 'Nov 89'.
10 x 8.75 inches
Private collection, Melbourne
The two young friends, von Hoffman and William Rothenstein, only 18 and in Paris for the first time in late 1889, were both art students attending the Academie Julian, and took rooms at the Hotel de France et de Lorraine in the Rue de Beaune (7th arrondissement). Proud and reserved, blind in one eye, von Hoffman came from a well connected German family - the Kaiser, on learning that von Hoffman had studied in Paris, sent his father a message ‘ordering him to discourage his son from painting in this modern manner’. The girl here resembles a model that Rothenstein and his friends often used, who reminded Rothenstein of a phrase of Henry James: ‘the wanton was not without a certain cadaverous beauty’ (quoted in Men and Memories, p 100; she sat to Rothenstein for his Parting at Morning of 1891, Tate Britain). This very early drawing was dedicated by von Hoffman to Rothenstein with the abbreviation ‘s/l’, (seinem lieben, to his dear).
Thanks to Max Rutherston and Mark Fecker.