Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an Austrian painter and architect who was recognized for his use of bright colors. His work includes vibrant paintings, one-of-a-kind sculptures, interesting structures, and thought-provoking exhibits. Friedrich Stowasser was born in Vienna and showed an early interest in art. He studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and signed his paintings Hundertwasser, a moniker he kept throughout his career. He studied architecture and, after living in Austria and France, returned to New Zealand to live cheaply in a home he planned to be environmentally friendly, or ‘green.’ To broaden his horizons, he dabbled in applied art, creating flags and stamps. In terms of politics, he expressed nostalgia for Austria’s Imperial past. As an ideal government, he backed a constitutional monarchy. Individualism, a man living in harmony with nature, organic forms, and a dislike of squares were all motifs in his art. His art, which bears his imprint of color and inventive design, carries on his legacy.
Childhood and Adolescence
On December 15, 1928, in Vienna, he was born Friedrich Stowasser to Elsa Stowsser, a Jewish woman, and Earnest Stowasser, a technical government worker and World War I veteran.
In 1929, Earnest Stowasser passed away, leaving Friedrich and his mother behind. Friedrich’s interest in art was first noticed at the Montessori School of Vienna in 1936 when he was seven years old.
He and his mother were evicted from their home in 1938 and forced to live with his aunt and grandmother. Their departure was precipitated by the Nazi invasion of Austria.
Despite their Jewish origins, young Hundertwasser and his mother pretended to be Christians in Nazi-controlled Austria. In 1941, he joined the Hitler Youth to deceive Nazi authorities about his Jewish ancestry.
After 1945, he studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. It was this academy that turned down a young Hitler’s application for entrance to its classes.
He began signing his name on art with numerous sobriquets in the academy, such as Regentag, Dunkelbut, and Hundertwasser. Throughout his career, he continued to use the various moniker, with Hundertwasser becoming the most renowned.
After a few months at the Academy, he grabbed his artist’s equipment and moved to Italy, where he met French painter Rene Bro and formed a lifelong connection. He and Bro traveled to exotic locations together in the years after their first encounter in 1949.
With a show of his paintings in Vienna in 1952-53, he had his first commercial breakthrough.
He used vivid hues like blue and red in his paintings, and he projected imagery that exalted man’s harmony with nature, with a penchant for the spiral theme.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s Career
He prioritized architecture as his primary artistic expression in the early 1950s. He advocated for more humane aspects of community living from the start, such as the right of tenants to decorate, paint, or even scrape away the masonry in their homes.
He read aloud his declaration against straight lines and traditional architectural style at a professional gathering in 1958. He progressed from offering his architectural ideas in protests or public speeches to more aggressive methods of spreading his ideas on the human condition.
In 1967, he gave a naked talk about what would later become his renowned skins hypothesis. According to the notion, humans have three skins: epidermis, clothing, and home.
In 1972, he expanded his skins hypothesis to include the social environment as well as the planetary skin. Hundertwasser’s philosophy matured with these last two skins, which acknowledged effects beyond the person.
He worked as an ‘architect doctor’ in the early 1980s, rebuilding a plant and grain silo. Growing flora on rooftops and uneven floors were one of his ideas.
In 1999, he started his final project in Magdeburg, Germany; it was unfinished at the time of his death but completed years later.
His Major Projects
In the 1970s, he purchased a large amount of land in New Zealand, including parts of the Kaurinui valley. His iconic Bottle House, which included solar panels, a water wheel, a water filtration system, and grass roofs, highlighted his belief in self-sufficiency.
In response to criticism that the current New Zealand flag depicts British imperialism, he designed the Koru Flag in 1983. With a black line on the left and a green spiral symbolizing a Maori pattern known as the koru, the design features his favorite spiral motif. The white spiral corresponds to the Maori word for New Zealand.
The Hundertwasser House in Vienna, constructed in 1985, is an example of his collaboration with architect Joseph Krawina. The expressionist construction contains 52 apartments, four offices, three common patios, and 16 individual terraces, as well as 250 trees and plants, making it one of Vienna’s most popular destinations.
Achievements & Awards
At the 5th So Paulo Biennale in 1959, he was awarded the Sandra Prize.
At the 6th International Art Exhibition in Tokyo in 1961, he was awarded the Mainichi Prize.
In Vienna, he received the Golden Medal of Honour, and in Styria, Austria, he received the Golden Medal of Honour. Tourism grew as a result of his architectural initiatives.
He received the VDRJ-Prize in Berlin in 1998 for his innovative advertising of Germany as a tourism destination.
Personal History and Legacy
In 1958, he married Herta Leitner, whom he divorced in 1960. In 1962, he married Yuko Ikeda, a Japanese artist, and the couple divorced in 1966.
He died at sea on February 19, 2000, aboard a cruise ship from Auckland, New Zealand.
He was the main designer of the Hundertwasser House in Vienna, which bears his name. The site is a popular tourist destination.
The Hundertwasser Foundation was established to support artistic endeavors. Its main areas of interest are painting, ecology, and architecture.
Estimated Net worth
Friedensreich is one of the wealthiest architects and one of the most well-known. Friedensreich Hundertwasser has a net worth of $17 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
The Kawakawa Hundertwasser Toilet Block was designed by him. The spirals and recycled materials, such as glass bricks, are employed on both the outside and inside of the building.
‘Peace-Realm Hundred-Water’ is the meaning of his name.