Of Austrian origin, Josef Hofer was born in Wegscheid, Bavaria. The child never went to school, living in the isolation of the family farm. For nearly 40 years, Josef Hofer, who is a deaf mute, established no social bonds. In 1982, on the death of his father, a wood turner, he moved in with a female cousin – together with his mother and older brother – and gradually emerged from his closed existence. He subsequently became an inmate in a number of psychiatric institutions in Upper Austria. Since 1992 he has lived in a home where he attends the creative workshop. Drawing, which he has been engaged in since 1985, constitutes his sole means of expression.
Josef Hofer directs an x-ray gaze at beings and things, offering a diversity of viewpoints in one and the same composition.
His output is essentially devoted to the depiction of objects and interiors or exteriors, but also the human figure, which is his favourite theme. The naked bodies display poses in which sexuality plays a determining role.