Saturday, 26 July 2014

ART SUNDAY - RUDOLF HAUSNER


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” - AlbertEinstein

Rudolf Hausner  (Vienna, December 4, 1914 – February 25, 1995) was a major Austrian artist of the “Fantastic Realism” style. He studied art at the Academy in Vienna from 1931 to 1936 and also travelling widely in England, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt. Many of his early paintings were confiscated and branded as ‘degenerate’ by the ruling Nazi party in 1938. In 1941 Hausner was drafted by the German army and remained a soldier until the war's end in 1945.

After the war he returned to Vienna and immersed himself in studies dealing with the unconscious and with the art of Surrealists, particularly that of Max Ernst. He co-founded the Viennese School of Fantastic Realism in 1947, and in the 1950’s and 1960’s this became one of Austria’s most important art movements, with Hausner its most influential proponents. During this time he also held principal teaching posts at the academies of Vienna and Hamburg.

In 1957, Hausner painted his first “Adam” picture. He came into conflict with the Surrealist orthodoxy that condemned as heretical his attempt to give equal importance to both conscious and unconscious processes. In 1962, Hausner met Paul Delvaux, René Magritte, Victor Brauner, and Dorothea Tanning while travelling in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. The 1st Burda Prize for Painting was awarded to him in 1967. In 1969, he was awarded the Prize of the City of Vienna. Shortly after, he separated from Hermine Jedlicka and moved to Hietzing together with his daughter Xenia and Anne Wolgast, whom he had met in Hamburg.

From 1966 until 1980, he was a guest professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg. He also taught at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Among his students were Joseph Bramer, Friedrich Hechelmann, Gottfried Helnwein, F. Scott Hess, Michael Engelhardt, and Siegried Goldberger. Hausner was awarded the Austrian State Prize for Painting in 1970.

Equally gifted as a painter, lithographer and etcher, Hausner’s complex art is based upon potent symbols and imagery. Primary among these is the constantly recurring image of the first man, Adam, who is part autobiographical and part archetypal. Another compelling image is that of the man or boy in a sailor’s cap. Hausner claimed that this image symbolised the myth of Odysseus and his epic voyages on the seas. It also, however, is representative of the artist’s own boyhood and the integrated relationships of youth and age within the self. As with all of Hausner’s monumental works of art, the elements within Adam Bei Sich demand a lifetime of contemplation and study.

The painting above is “Odysseus’ Ark” painted in 1948. The man in the sailor’s cap is the Odysseus of Greek myth, or perhaps the artist himself who is travelling through his own odyssey through his life. The right side of the image is taken up by a projection of the interior of the “ark” in which are found collected all of the artist’s “baggage”. A miscellany of images, symbols, things and people, exploding from the artist’s mind and populating the ark. The image hides both wonders and horrors. It is full of both optimism and pessimism, hop for the future and the terrors of the past war.

More of his paintings can be found here:

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