As the 20th century progressed, education was made available to all and people became more mobile, artists developed their own styles, free of the need to associate their work with ‘movements’. They were able, for practical purposes, to work under the term ‘contemporary’. They were able to pick and choose their styles, gather inspiration from everywhere and create work that was completely unique. Friedensreich Hundertwasser was one such artist; by the end of the century, he was one of Austria’s most famous contemporary artists.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born in Vienna on December 15th, 1928 as Friedrich Stowasser. After high school, he immediately entered the Vienna School of Arts but left after a short time when he decided to travel. After visiting France, Morocco, Tunisia, Spain and Italy, he returned with his new name: Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser. The direct English translation of this is ‘Peace-Realm Rainy Day Darkly-Coloured Hundred-Water’. Thereafter, he was known simply as ‘Hundertwasser’.
Hundertwasser's first commercial success was a 1952 exhibition of his paintings in Vienna. That was followed by equally successful exhibitions in Tokyo, Stockholm, New York, Chicago and Bern. The common themes in his work utilised bright colours, organic forms and no straight lines, which he called "the devil's tools". Along the way, he was a painter, architecture doctor and ecological activist.
In the 1950s, he began designing buildings with features such as undulating floors, and trees growing through rooms. He developed new shapes, such as the spiral house and the eye-slit house and became an advocate for environmentally-friendly buildings. It was when he moved to New Zealand, in the early ‘70s, that he realized his dream of living and working in a close connection with nature. on a trip to Europe in 2000, Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser passed away at sea, at age 71.
His fascinating work, as well as his extraordinary life, inspired FREYWILLE to create an overwhelming homage that truly captures Hundertwasser’s unrivalled spirit.
SPIRAL OF LIFE
This set is inspired by a main motif in Hundertwasser’s artistic universe: The Spiral. For Hundertwasser it is the symbol of life and death, the act of creation and destruction, because the spiral – as opposed to the circle – never returns to its own point of origin.
The design Street Rivers devotes itself to Hundertwasser’s second passion; architecture. His architectural work corresponded exactly to his own philosophy that meant the fusion of cultivation of home decor and nature. Active in the ecological movement, Hundertwasser was committed to making life liveable in a humane environment that was close to nature. With a keen sense of style and love for detail, FREYWILLE’s artists merged Hundertwasser’s typical elements with their own interpretations in this extraordinary design.
The design 10002 Nights focuses on Hundertwasser’s architectural masterpieces, which he developed always maintaining the harmony with nature. The significant onion shaped tower that is reminiscent of oriental fairy tales is a recurring facet and became a leitmotif in his artistic work. The contrast of the black background let the onion tower’s colours look even more impressive while powerful red and green enhance the visual effect on the viewer.
The fire-enamel motive used in this design was inspired by the painting “Irinaland über dem Balkan” and the overall philosophy of the universal genius Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Based on careful research the FREYWILLE artists have created a multifaceted design interpretation full of intense symbols and colours.
Originating in 1969 the painting is dedicated to an actress and her home country Bulgaria, reflecting the atmosphere of a passionate summer romance. Together with the royalgolden background and the warm, energetic colour shades a vibrant artwork has been created, symbolizing freedom, adventure and light-heartedness.
A halo of shimmering diamonds marks the highlight of the design and surrounds a central fire enamel cabochon inlay, which has been hand crafted in FREYWILLE’s Vienna atelier: GLORIA, a stunning collection full of precious elements. Available in selected boutiques.