Friedrich Stowasser (December 15, 1928 – February 19, 2000), better known by his pseudonym Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, was an Austrian-born New Zealand artist and architect who also worked in the field of environmental protection.
Hundertwasser stood out as an opponent of "a straight line" and any standardization, expressing this concept in the field of building design. His best known work is the Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna, Austria which has become a notable place of interest in the Austrian capital, characterized by imaginative vitality and uniqueness.
Hundertwasser in New Zealand in 1998
Friedrich Stowasser December 15, 1928 Vienna, Austria
The Second World War was a very difficult time for Hundertwasser and his mother Elsa, who were Jewish. They avoided persecution by posing as Christians, a credible ruse as Hundertwasser's father had been a Catholic. Hundertwasser was baptized as a Catholic in 1935. To remain inconspicuous Hundertwasser also joined the Hitler Youth.
Hundertwasser developed artistic skills early on. After the war, he spent three months at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. At this time he began to sign his art as Hundertwasser instead of Stowasser. He left to travel using a small set of paints he carried at all times to sketch anything that caught his eye. In Florence, he met the young French painter René Brô for the first time and they became lifelong friends. Hundertwasser's first commercial painting success was in 1952–53 with an exhibition in Vienna.
Hundertwasser (left) 1965 in Hannover
His adopted surname is based on the translation of "sto" (the Slavic word for "(one) hundred") into German. The name Friedensreich has a double meaning as "Peace-realm" or "Peace-rich" (in the sense of "peaceful"). Therefore, his name Friedensreich Hundertwasser translates directly into English as "Peace-Realm Hundred-Water". The other names he chose for himself, Regentag and Dunkelbunt, translate to "Rainy day" and "Darkly multi-coloured".
In the early 1950s, he entered the field of architecture. Hundertwasser also worked in the field of applied art, creating flags, stamps, coins, and posters. His most famous flag is his koru flag, as well as several postage stamps for the Austrian Post Office. He also designed stamps for Cape Verde and for the United Nations postal administration in Geneva on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 1957 Hundertwasser acquired a farm on the edge of Normandy. Hundertwasser married Herta Leitner in 1958 but they divorced two years later. He married again in 1962 to the Japanese artist Yuko Ikewada but she divorced him in 1966. He had gained a popular reputation by this time for his art.
In 1964 Hundertwasser bought "Hahnsäge", a former saw mill, in the sparsely populated Lower Austria's Waldviertel. There, far from the hustle and bustle and surrounded by nature, he set up a new home.
In 1972 Hundertwasser incorporated in Switzerland, the "Grüner Janura AG", which was renamed to "Namida AG" 2008. Via this stock company Hundertwasser managed his intellectual property rights.
In the 1970s, Hundertwasser acquired several properties in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, which include a total area of approximately 372 ha of the entire "Kaurinui" valley. There he realized his dream of living and working closely connected to nature. Beside other projects he designed the "Bottle House" there. He could live largely self-sufficient using solar panels, a water wheel and a biological water purification plant. Also his first grass roofs experiment took place here.
In 1980, Hundertwasser visited Washington D.C. to support activist Ralph Nader's efforts to oppose nuclear proliferation. Hundertwasser planted trees in Judiciary Square and advocated on behalf of a co-op owner who was fined for designing her own window. Mayor Marion Barry declared November 18 to be Hundertwasser Day.
In 1982, Hundertwasser's only child, his daughter Heidi Trimmel, was born.
Hundertwasser was buried in New Zealand after his death at sea on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2000 at the age of 71.
In a letter from 1954 Hundertwasser described the square as "geometric rectangles compressed columns on the march".
In 1959 Hundertwasser got involved with helping the Dalai Lama escape from Tibet by campaigning for the Tibetan religious leader in Carl Laszlo's magazine Panderma. In later years, when he was already a known artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser became an environmental activist and most recently operated as a more prominent opponent of the European Union, advocating the preservation of regional peculiarities.
Austria needs something to look up to, consisting of perennial higher values—of which one now hardly dares to speak—such as beauty, culture, internal and external peace, faith, richness of heart [...] Austria needs an emperor, who is subservient to the people. A superior and radiant figure in whom everyone has confidence, because this great figure is a possession of all. The rationalist way of thinking has brought us, in this century, an ephemeral higher, American standard of living at the expense of nature and creation, which is now coming to an end, for it is destroying our heart, our quality of life, our longing, without which an Austrian does not want to live. It is outrageous that Austria has an emperor who did no evil to anyone but is still treated like a leper. Austria needs a crown! Long live Austria! Long live the constitutional monarchy! Long live Otto von Habsburg! - Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Für die Wiederkehr der konstitutionellen Monarchie (For the Return of the Constitutional Monarchy).[fn 1] Kaurinui, New Zealand, 28 March 1983; dedicated, on 14 May 1987, to Otto von Habsburg for his 75th birthday.
Hundertwasser's Down Under Flag, proposal for a new Australian national flag with Uluru positioned to show "Australia holding the earth from down under".
Hundertwasser's original and unruly artistic vision expressed itself in pictorial art, environmentalism, philosophy, and design of facades, postage stamps, flags, and clothing (among other areas). The common themes in his work utilised bright colours, organic forms, a reconciliation of humans with nature, and a strong individualism, rejecting straight lines.
He was fascinated by spirals, and called straight lines "godless and immoral" and "something cowardly drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling" He called his theory of art "transautomatism", focusing on the experience of the viewer rather than the artist. This was encapsulated by his design of a new flag for New Zealand, which incorporated the image of the Koru a spiral shape based on the image of a new unfurling silver fern frond and symbolizing new life, growth, strength and peace according to the Māori people.
A typical Hundertwasser facade: the Hundertwasserhaus in Plochingen, Germany
Even though Hundertwasser first achieved notoriety for his boldly-coloured paintings, he is more widely known for his individual architectural designs. These designs use irregular forms, and incorporate natural features of the landscape. The Hundertwasserhaus apartment block in Vienna has undulating floors ("an uneven floor is a melody to the feet"), a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows. He took no payment for the design of Hundertwasserhaus, declaring that it was worth the investment to "prevent something ugly from going up in its place".
From the early 1950s he increasingly focused on architecture, advocating more just human and environmental friendly buildings. This began with manifestos, essays and demonstrations. For example, he read out his "Mouldiness Manifesto against Rationalism in Architecture" in 1958 on the occasion of an art and architectural event held at the Seckau Monastery. He rejected the straight line and the functional architecture. In Munich in 1967 he gave a lecture called "Speech in Nude for the Right to a Third Skin". His lecture "Loose from Loos, A Law Permitting Individual Buildings Alterations or Architecture-Boycott Manifesto", was given at the Concordia Press Club in Vienna in 1968.
In the Mouldiness Manifesto he first claimed the "Window Right": "A person in a rented apartment must be able to lean out of his window and scrape off the masonry within arm's reach. And he must be allowed to take a long brush and paint everything outside within arm's reach. So that it will be visible from afar to everyone in the street that someone lives there who is different from the imprisoned, enslaved, standardised man who lives next door." In his nude speeches of 1967 and 1968 Hundertwasser condemned the enslavement of humans by the sterile grid system of conventional architecture and by the output of mechanised industrial production. He rejected rationalism, the straight line and functional architecture.
For Hundertwasser, human misery was a result of the rational, sterile, monotonous architecture, built following the tradition of the Austrian architect Adolf Loos, author of the modernist manifesto Ornament and crime (1908). He called for a boycott of this type of architecture, and demanded instead creative freedom of building, and the right to create individual structures. In 1972 he published the manifesto Your window right — your tree duty. Planting trees in an urban environment was to become obligatory: "If man walks in nature's midst, then he is nature's guest and must learn to behave as a well-brought-up guest." Hundertwasser propagated a type of architecture in harmony with nature is his ecological commitment. He campaigned for the preservation of the natural habitat and demanded a life in accordance with the laws of nature. He wrote numerous manifestos, lectured and designed posters in favor of nature protection, including against nuclear power, to save the oceans and the whales and to protect the rain forest. He was also an advocate of composting toilets and the principle of constructed wetland. He perceived feces not as nauseous but as part of the cycle of nature. His beliefs are testified by his manifesto The Holy Shit and his DIY guide for building a composting toilet.
In the 1970s, Hundertwasser had his first architectural models built. The models for the Eurovision TV-show "Wünsch Dir was" (Make a Wish) in 1972 exemplified his ideas on forested roofs, tree tenants and the window right. In these and similar models he developed new architectural shapes, such as the spiral house, the eye-slit house, the terrace house and the high-rise meadow house.
In 1974, Peter Manhardt made models for him of the pit-house, the grass roof house and the green service station – along with his idea of the invisible, inaudible Green Motorway.
In the early 1980s Hundertwasser remodelled the Rosenthal Factory in Selb, and the Mierka Grain Silo in Krems. These projects gave him the opportunity to act as what he called an "architecture doctor".
In architectural projects that followed he implemented window right and tree tenants, uneven floors, woods on the roof, and spontaneous vegetation. Works of this period include: housing complexes in Germany; a church in Bärnbach, Austria; a district heating plant in Vienna; an incineration plant and sludge centre in Osaka, Japan; a railway station in Uelzen; a winery in Napa Valley; and the Hundertwasser toilet in Kawakawa.
In 1999 Hundertwasser started his last project named Die Grüne Zitadelle von Magdeburg (in German). Although he never completed this work, the building was built a few years later in Magdeburg, a town in eastern Germany, and opened on October 3, 2005.
Two of the unrealized designs are alternative designs for a stamp issue (United Nations, Senegal) and were therefore not performed. Seven other designs created for the postal administrations of Morocco and French Polynesia, were not realized as a postage stamp.
In addition, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, has adapted some of his works for stamp issues. On the basis of these adaptations have been stamps issued by:
France – 2 badges for € Europe, 1994
United Nations Postal Administration (Vienna, Geneva and New York) – Social Summit (3 stamps), 1995
Luxembourg – European Capital of Culture (3 stamps), 1995
Liechtenstein – EXPO 2000 in Hanover (3 stamps), 2000
The Austrian post office used more Hundertwasser motives for the European edition 1987 (Modern architecture, Hundertwasser House), on the occasion of his death in 2000 (painting Blue Blues, under the WIPA 2000) and 2004 National Donauauen (poster: The outdoors is our freedom at civil protests in Hainburg).
For the first time a Hundertwasser motive was also used on a Cuban stamp, as part of the art exhibition Salon de Mayo (Havana, 1967).
With the exception of service marks for the Council of Europe and the Cuban stamp, all stamps were engraved by Wolfgang Seidel and by the Austrian State Printing Office in a complex combination printing process produces (intaglio printing, rotogravure printing, as well as metal stamping).
In 1989 Brockhaus released a 24-volume limited special edition of its encyclopedia with 1800 pieces, entirely designed by Hundertwasser. Each individual cover of this edition varies in colour of the linen as well as in the colours of foil stamping, making each copy a unique piece. "No band, no cover I designed the encyclopedia is equal to the other. Nevertheless, they attack each other with all their differences and come together to form an overall picture. This is networking among themselves a symbol of knowledge, the Brockhaus gives." (F. Hundertwasser)
Stowasser: Latin-German school dictionary of Joseph Maria Stowasser. For the newly published 1994 edition of the dictionary "Little Stowasser" Hundertwasser-designed textile bindings in 100 different colour variations.
Bible. 1995, Size: 20x28, 5 cm, 1688 pages, 80 full-page images, including 30 collages, the hundreds of water specifically for this Bible – Edition has created. Each Bible is characterized by a different colour combination of linen textiles. Also the specimens differ in the bright shining metal colour imprints. Each cover is made mainly by hand.
Hundertwasser's model of a proposed building to be constructed in Wellington
In New Zealand his design beliefs have been adopted by a New Zealand terracotta tile manufacturer, who promotes his style as "Organic Tiling". The tiling is designed by Chris Southern, who worked with Hundertwasser on the Kawakawa toilets.
Hundertwasser, Vollständiger Oeuvre-Katalog publiziert aus Anlass der 100. Ausstellung der Kestner-Gesellschaft, Text by Wieland Schmied (ed.), with 100 coloured reproductions. Kestner-Gesellschaft Hannover, Hanover, 1964
David Kung (ed.), The Woodcut Works of Hundertwasser 1960-1975, Glarus: Gruener Janura AG, 1977
Walter Koschatzky, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The complete graphic work 1951–1986. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1986.
Harry Rand, Hundertwasser, Cologne: Taschen, 1991 (reprint 2018)
Pierre Restany, Hundertwasser. The Power of Art - The Painter-King with the Five Skins, Cologne: Taschen, 1998
Hundertwasser 1928-2000, Catalogue Raisonné, Vol. 1 by Wieland Schmied: Personality, Life, Work, Vol. 2 by Andrea Christa Fürst: Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne: Taschen, 2000/2002
Pierre Restany, Hundertwasser, New York: Parkstone, 2008
Robert Schediwy, Hundertwassers Häuser. Dokumente einer Kontroverse über zeitgemäße Architektur. Vienna: Edition Tusch, 1999, ISBN 3-85063-215-6.
Hundertwasser Architecture, For a more human architecture in harmony with nature, Cologne: Taschen, 1997 (reprint 2018)
Hundertwasser ist ein Geschenk für Deutschland, catalogue of the exhibition at the Galerie Änne Abels, Cologne, 1963
Hundertwasser, Vollständiger Œuvre Katalog, Publiziert aus Anlass der 100. Ausstellung der Kestner-Gesellschaft, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover, 1964
Herschel B. Chipp, Brenda Richardson (ed.): Hundertwasser, catalogue of the exhibition at the University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, 1968
Hundertwasser, catalogue of the exhibition at Aberbach Fine Art, New York, 1973 (designed by Hundertwasser.)
Hundertwasser 1973 New Zealand, published on the event of the travelling exhibition of Hundertwasser’s graphic work in New Zealand and Australia 1973/74 (designed by Hundertwasser)
Friedrich Stowasser 1943–1949, catalogue of the exhibition at the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, 1974
Friedensreich Hundertwasser Regentag, catalogue of the exhibition at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, 1975 (designed by Hundertwasser)
Austria presents Hundertwasser to the continents (English, French, German edition, 1975-1983, supplements in host countries’ languages).
Hundertwasser Is Painting, catalogue of the travelling exhibition 1979-1981, Glarus/Switzerland: Gruener Janura AG, 1979
Hundertwasser, Hundertwasser Exhibition 1989, Japan Tour. edited by Joshiharu Sasaki, Yuriko Ishikawa, Iwaki City Art Museum; Tomoko Oyagi, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum; Hitoshi Morita, Ohara Museum of Art
Hundertwasser. Important Works, catalogue of the exhibition at Landau Fine Art, Montreal, 1994
Hundertwasser, catalogue of the travelling exhibition, Tokyo: APT International, 1998
Klaus Wolbert (ed.): Hundertwasser Retrospektive 1948-1997, catalogue of the exhibition at the Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, Frankfurt am Main: Die Galerie, 1998
Hundertwasser, edited by Minako Tsunoda, Nagoya: Nagoya City Art Museum, 1999
Hommage à Hundertwasser 1928/2000, catalogue of the exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle, Alençon, France, 2001
Ingeborg Flagge (ed.): Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Ein Sonntagsarchitekt, Gebaute Träume und Sehnsüchte, catalogue of the exhibition at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main: Die Galerie, 2005
Yoki Morimoto, Mayumi Hirano (ed.): Remainders of an Ideal – The Vision and Practices of Hundertwasser, catalogue of the travelling exhibition in Japan 2006/2007, Tokyo: APT International, 2006
The Yet Unknown Hundertwasser, catalogue of the exhibition at the KunstHausWien on occasion of the 80th Birthday, Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2008
Hundertwasser 2010 in Seoul, catalogue of the exhibition at the Seoul Arts Center – Hangaram Design Museum, Seoul: Maronie Books, 2010
Andreas Hirsch (ed.): Hundertwasser - The Art of the Green Path, catalogue of the exhibition at the KunstHausWien, Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2011
Carmen Sylvia Weber (ed.): Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The fruits of the dreams. catalogue of the exhibition at the Art Forum Würth (Capena) near Rome. Künzelsau: Swiridoff, 2008, ISBN 978-3-89929-137-7.
Christoph Grunenberg, Astrid Becker (ed.): Friedensreich Hundertwasser – Gegen den Strich. Werke 1949-1970, catalogue of the exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bremen, Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2012
Agnes Husslein-Arco, Harald Krejci, Axel Köhne (ed.): Hundertwasser, Japan and the Avant-garde, catalogue of the exhibition at the Belvedere, Vienna, München: Hirmer Verlag, 2013
Sylvie Girardet, Nestor Salas (ed.): Dans la peau de Hundertwasser, Salut l’artiste catalogue of the exhibition at the Musée en Herbe, Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2013
Christian Gether, Stine Hoholt, Andrea Rygg Karberg (Hrsg.): Hundertwasser, catalogue of the exhibition at the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Ishoj, Denmark, 2014
Tayfun Belgin (ed.): HUNDERTWASSER – LEBENSLINIEN, catalogue of the exhibition at the Osthaus Museum, Hagen, Frankfurt am Main: Die Galerie, 2015
Daniel J. Schreiber (ed.): HUNDERTWASSER. SCHÖN & GUT, catalogue of the exhibition at the Buchheim Museum, Bernried, 2016
Hundertwasser 2016 in Seoul - The Green City, catalogue of the exhibition at the Sejong Museum of Art, Seoul, 2016
Hundertwasser Malerei, Art Club, Vienna, 1952
Studio Paul Facchetti, Paris, 1954
Galerie H. Kamer, Paris, 1957
Rétrospective Hundertwasser 1950–1960, Galerie Raymond Cordier, Paris, 1960
Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, 1961
Hundertwasser ist ein Geschenk für Deutschland, Galerie Änne Abels, Cologne, 1963
Travelling Exhibition 1964/65, Hundertwasser: Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover; Kunsthalle Bern; Karl-Ernst-Osthaus-Museum, Hagen; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna
Travelling Exhibition 1968/69: USA, Hundertwasser; University Art Museum, Berkeley; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Arts Club of Chicago; The Galerie St. Etienne, New York; The Phillips Collection, Washington DC
Galerie Brockstedt, Hamburg, 1968/1969
Aberbach Fine Art, New York, 1973
Travelling Exhibition 1973/74, Hundertwasser 1973 New Zealand, City of Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth; The New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington; City Art Gallery, Christchurch; City Art Gallery, Dunedin
Travelling Exhibition, Hundertwasser 1974 Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Albert Hall, Canberra; Opera, Sydney
Stowasser 1943 bis Hundertwasser 1974, Albertina, Vienna, 1974
Haus der Kunst, Munich, 1975
Austria Presents Hundertwasser to the Continents. The World Travelling Museum Exhibition took place in 43 museums in 27 countries from 1975 to 1983.
Hundertwasser. Das gesamte graphische Werk, Tapisserien, Mönchehaus-Museum für Moderne Kunst, Goslar, Germany, 1978
Hundertwasser Tapisserien, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, 1979
Travelling Exhibition 1979–1981, Hundertwasser Is Painting, Aberbach Fine Art, New York; Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo; Galerie Brockstedt, Hamburg; Hammerlunds Kunsthandel; Galerie Würthle, Vienna
Hundertwasser – Sérigraphies, eaux fortes, gravures sur bois japonaises, lithographies, Artcurial, Paris, 1980
Travelling Exhibition 1998/99: Japan, Hundertwasser; Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo; Museum “EKi”, Kyoto; Sakura City Museum of Art, Chiba
Travelling Exhibition 1999: Japan, Hundertwasser Architecture – For a More Human Architecture in Harmony With Nature, Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Takamatsu; Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya; Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Kobe; The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama
Travelling Exhibition 2005/06: Germany, Friedensreich Hundertwasser – Ein Sonntagsarchitekt. Gebaute Träume und Sehnsüchte; Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM), Frankfurt; Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, Schloss Gottorf; Kunstforum der Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall AG, Schwäbisch Hall; Städtische Museen Zwickau, Kunstsammlungen, Zwickau
Travelling Exhibition 2006/07: Japan, Remainders of an Ideal. The Visions and Practices of HUNDERTWASSER, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; Musee d`art Mercian Karuizawa; Mitsukoshi Museum, Tokyo; Shimonoseki Museum, Yamaguchi
The Art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. A Magical Eccentric, Szépmüvészeti Museum, Budapest, 2007/2008
Hundertwasser. La raccolta dei sogni, Art Forum Würth, Capena near Rome, 2008
^Hundertwasser's German term konstitutionelle Monarchie (constitutional monarchy) refers to a form of monarchy in which the monarch still has considerable influence in day-to-day politics, while the form in which the monarch is only a figurehead is called parlamentarische Monarchie (parliamentary monarchy).
^Pierre Restany: Die Macht der Kunst, Hundertwasser. Der Maler-König mit den fünf Häuten. Taschen, Köln 2003, ISBN 978-3-8228-6598-9, S. 16
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