Johann Hauser

Born 1926
Hometown Bratislava, Slovakia

Galerie St. Etienne, New York, NY
Henry Boxer Gallery, Surrey, England

Johann Hauser was born in Bratislava and began to draw in his late twenties at the Haus der Künstler in Gugging. Hauser was hospitalized at the age of seventeen because of psychiatric problems, having never learned to write or count. In 1947 he was transferred to the hospital at Gugging in his native Austria, where he was diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia. At first he was given farm work and later was encouraged to draw by the psychiatrist Dr. Leo Navratil, founder of the famous Artists' House at Gugging. 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. The result has been the emergence of an astonishing number of important outsider artists with international reputations.

Hauser created powerfully saturated crayon and pencil drawings and much of his imagery is manifestly sexual in content. According to Navratil, Hauser's drawings changed according to his mental state. In manic phases he would produce large, vibrant and more complex images, whilst his depressive state would bring darker images, tending towards the abstract-geometric. Considered one of the most important of the Gugging artists, Hauser created the blue star that serves as the logo of the Haus der Künstler. His works have been shown since the early 1970s throughout Europe, and more recently at international venues such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo, and the Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen.

Courtesy of Ricco/Maresca, NY

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