Friedensreich Hundertwasser would have been 86 years old today, had he still been alive to celebrate his birthday, but his art continually celebrates him everyday. A master of many crafts from art to architecture to clothes to stamps, he had a clear vision, and that was to express his belief of a life in harmony with nature and individual creativity. An adopted name, Friedensreich Hundertwasser means “Peace-Realm Hundred-Water” and as an environmental activist and believer in peace, the name could not be more suiting.
Hundertwasser’s art is an original and sporadic vision that was expressed through pictorial art in an effort to express environmentalism and philosophy. Those common themes in his work utilized bright colors, organic forms, a reconciliation of humans with nature, and a strong individualism with a rejection of straight lines.
It is interesting to know that his rejection of lines, and therefore the bases of his art, comes from his childhood experiences. A Jewish child masquerading as a Christian during Nazi Germany, he had early fears of the square marching battalions. This led him to oppose the “geometrization” of art and architecture. In a letter from 1954 Hundertwasser described the square as “geometric rectangles compressed columns on the march”, and he commented later how straight lines were “godless and immoral” and “something cowardly drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling.” So this association is what shaped his art into a focus on circles, waves, and spirals.
In addition, he believed that as nothing was straight in nature so nothing should be in life, and if you were not close to nature then you were unhappy. A fascinating man with many principles and ideas, Hundertwasser is the symbolic figure for a non-conformist way of living. Living simply throughout his life even with his successes, Hundertwasser’s art reminds us that life is not meant to be order and rigid, but a beautiful sea of colors and forms, waiting to be discovered.
MORE ARTICLES ON HUNDERTWASSER:
Memories of Hundertwasser House, Vienna
View our Friedensreich Hundertwasser inventory here: Friedensreich Hundertwasser inventory
Please visit our Art Education page here: Masterworks Fine Art Gallery Art Education
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