Place of birth
Date of death
Place of death
An Bord der Queen Elizabeth 2
The artist, whom the art critics called a "Mister Make Pretty" and a "pastry-cook style architect", was born as Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna on 15 December 1928. Since "sto" means "hundred" in the Slavic languages, he adopted his artist's name in 1949, with which he became famous.
He attended the Montessori school in Vienna, and after graduating from secondary school, he spent three months at the Vienna Fine Arts Academy. With that, he had not completed his studies, however, because he went on study tours to Paris, Marrakesh, Tanger, Tunis, Italy and Spain. In 1959 Hundertwasser, together with Ernst Fuchs and Rainer Arnulf, founded the "Pintorium" – a universal academy for all types of creative activities.
At the age of 22, Hundertwasser was the darling of all art galleries on account of his highly individual, mystical style of painting; he found inspiration in Arabic music and in nature, because he enjoyed its apparent irregularities and incidental peculiarities. Hundertwasser followed the tradition of the Viennese Secessionist style, which was the expression of the French and German art nouveau/Jugendstil.
The wealth of his surfaces and his use of colors remind one of Klimt, but his scrubbed strokes of the brush and his musty colors are reminiscent of Schiele. On more than on one occasion, Hundertwasser's paintings were classified as being heavy, rigid, archaic and primitive; they were labeled as primitive on account of his use of colors and lines.
Hundertwasser can be regarded as an artist of colors, because colors (intensive red, indigo blue, purple, emerald green) are the essential feature of his work. He uses saturated colors, without paying attention to the subject. He painted a lot while traveling, and for that he used aquarelles or powdery color pigments. He very often used egg tempera (and added metallic powders), pieces of fabrics and paper, earth, ground-glass or earthenware, and he finished his works by applying a thin oil glazing. The painter was also attracted by the color of decomposition. In his opinion, the colors one associates with mold are an expression of the liveliness of inanimate objects.
The spiral is the primary shape in Hundertwasser's paintings, as a sign of his restlessness. His spirals are different from Klimt's – he puts equal emphasis on lines and shapes – and they resist a sub-division into inside and outside. Hundertwasser died in 2002 of heart failure on board of a ship and he was buried in New Zealand.