“Recalling to Life” – Germany (circa 1905)

In other postcard stories, we have looked at the fine postcards printed by the German American Novelty Art Company.

This international company published some of the best postcard art of the early 20th century.

On this site, one can find numerous illustrations of beautiful landscapes, animals, and flowers that were printed in Germany by this firm.

I was not surprised that the company also published illustrations of Biblical scenes, but this is one of the few that I have found.

The original painting was made by “H. Hofmann”, who is Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911).

Heinrich Hofmann was born into a family involved in the arts; his father (who was a distinguished lawyer) pursued water-color painting.  

His mother taught art, and the four Hofmann sons all dabbled in art.

Heinrich was the only one to pursue a career as an artist, studying first in his native Darmstadt, and then in Dusseldorf.  He spent time in Antwerp and in France, and lived for a time in Munich.

During his early career, he specialized in portraits – some of whom are in the Royal collection in England.

His mother died suddenly in 1854, when Heinrich was 29 and he was profoundly affected.

Heinrich moved to Italy where he was deeply influenced by classical and early Christian art.

His religious paintings all date from after that time.


The painting on this postcard, “Recalling the Widow’s Son to Life” illustrates the account of St. Luke, Chapter 7, in which Jesus and the disciples encounter a funeral procession bearing the body of the only son of a widow.

(This was a disastrous loss, as a poor widow faced destitution without the support of a husband or child.)

Jesus pitied the widow, and walking to the bier, called the young man to “Arise”.

The crowd was awe-stricken and exclaimed, “God has visited His people”.

Hofmann’s religious works, using his skills as a portrait artist, communicate deep feeling and a realistic atmosphere.

These paintings became immensely popular.

John D. Rockefeller purchased three paintings by Hofmann that remain at Riverside Church in New York.

Ironically, one of the paintings is “Christ and the Rich Young Ruler”.


This postcard was not mailed.

One hopes that the devout collector was “recalled to life” by the miraculous scene.


Search By:


More Postcards