Friedensreich Hundertwasser Biography

Friedensreich Hundertwasser




Austrian artist and architectural creator Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, was known for his eccentric designs. Born Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna, 1928, he attended the Montessori School in 1936. During the persecution of the Third Reich he lost all relatives on his Jewish mother’s side in the Nazi concentration camps. In 1949, as a reaction to the state of the world around him, he changed his name to Friedrich Hundertwasser, derived from a translation of the Slavic "Sto" (which means one hundred). In 1968 he changed his given name to Friedensreich ("abundance of peace") , and since then has added the words "Regentag (Rainy day) and "Dunkelbunt" ("Dark multi coloured') to his surname.

Hundertwasser attended only three months of formal art training, having been successfully accepted to the art academy of Vienna—Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien, with Prof. Christian Andersen, but dropped the formal education. He traveled widely, to Morocco, Tunis, Paris and the Toscana (1949-1952), which shaped both his art and, later, his architectural forms.

Following exhibitions in 1951 he quickly established a reputation, especially after he developed his favour of spiral motifs. In 1959 he was offered a guest lecturing position in Hamburg. Exhibitions in mainstream museums in the 1960s, as well as his revolutionary ecological ideas made him well known (Bösch 1996). Hundertwasser resided in Vienna and New Zealand.  He died in 2000 in Vienna.