JOHANN HAUSER (1926-1996, AUSTRIA)
Johann Hauser was born near Bratislava, Slovakia. As a child he was placed in a special school and remained illiterate. Considered to be feeble-minded, he was admitted to a psychiatric institution where he was described as dreamy, impulsive and quarrelsome. In 1949 he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Klosterneuburg, near Vienna, where he would remain for the rest of his life. Gradually he became one of the most successful artists of the Haus der Kunstler in Gugging, Austria, also thanks the encouragement from his psychiatrist, Dr Leo Navratil. Physically separated from the main hospital buildings, the Artists’ House provided Hauser and the other artist-patients with a space in which to live and work according to their own creative desires, and unhindered by therapeutic imperatives.
His powerful use of form and colour belie the fact that his favoured medium was coloured pencil. Drawing with a fierce intensity, he managed to create an overall painterly effect. The intense pressure he applied left indents in the paper and occasionally even tore it, but other times his work was quiet and restrained, featuring just one object or form.
Johann Hauser was inspired by the portraits of film stars, images of current events and photos of engines of war that were reproduced in illustrated magazines. In defiance of the principles of representation, proportion and perspective, he created his own style.
Photos from Museum Gugging, Wien:
1) Mädchen im gelben kleid 2, 1967 © Künstler aus Gugging
2) Löwe oder tiger, 1969, © Künstler aus Gugging
3) Türkischer palast, 1971 © Künstler aus Gugging
4) Nackte frau mit hut, 1986 © Künstler aus Gugging
5) Blonde frau, 1986 © Künstler aus Gugging
6) Nackte frau mit rotem haar, 1986 © Künstler aus Gugging