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Basic data

Hundertwasser was an Austrian painter, architect and environmental activist who is now considered one of the most popular European artists of post-war modernism. 

  • Civil name: Friedensreich Stowasser
  • Born: 15 December 1928
  • Place of birth: Vienna, Austria
  • Died on: 19 February 2000
  • Nationality: Austrian
  • Studied at: Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
  • Era: Modern art

As part of the international Parisian artistic avant-garde in the 1950s, Hundertwasser developed a unique visual language. He is known for his compositions consisting of intensely bright colors, distorted spiral lines, organic shapes, and handmade embellishments that, in addition to architectural ciphers, especially often reflect analogies to nature. In addition, he used a wide variety of colors in his paintings, such as watercolors, oil paints, or glossy varnishes, which he placed next to each other in such a way that they contrasted not only in their colorfulness, but also in their texture.



Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna in 1928. He lost his father at an early age and was brought up alone by his mother in modest circumstances. He discovered his passion for drawing as a child, particularly for Viennese houses and landscapes.

After the Second World War, he studied briefly at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts under R. C. Andersen, where he began to sign his works as "Hundertwasser". However, he broke off his studies and began to travel, living in Vienna, New Zealand, Venice, and Normandy, among other places.

He was a member of the Vienna Art Club from 1951 and had his first exhibitions in Vienna in 1952 and 1953. In the 1950s, he discovered the spiral as a fundamental motif in his painting and developed "transautomatism" as an art theory. Together with Ernst Fuchs and Arnulf Rainer, he founded the "Pintorarium" in 1959. Hundertwasser achieved his international breakthrough at the Venice Biennale in 1962.

In addition to his work as a painter, he was also an architect who advocated a people-friendly approach to building. His philosophy emphasized the harmonious coexistence of man and nature, which was reflected in his architectural projects with plant elements such as overgrown roofs. As an environmental activist, he also opposed the use of nuclear energy and campaigned for the protection of natural spaces and whales.

From 1981 to 1997, Friedensreich Hundertwasser led a master class in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and was awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize in 1980. The artist died on February 19, 2000, at the age of 71 and was buried in New Zealand.



  • 13.12.2021 - 26.02.2023 Sport, Spiel, Spaß – Kunsthalle Würth, Schwäbisch Hall.
  • 24.09.2021 - 30.01.2022 Sammlung Miessl - Stadtgalerie Klagenfurt.
  • 09.05.2021 - 12.09.2021 Hundertwasser – Nordiska Akvarellmuseet – The Nordic Watercolour Museum, Skarhamn.
  • 21.02.2020 - 10.01.2021 Hundertwasser – Schiele Imagine Tomorrow – Leopold Museum, Vienna.
  • 01.03.2020 - 23.01.2021 Østerriksk Kunst Fra Sammlung Fürth – Galleri Würth, Hagan, Norway.
  • 30.11.2019 - 13.04.2020 The Tip oft he Iceberg – Museum der Moderne, Salzburg.
  • 28.11.2019 - 11.01.2020 Zauberhafte Bilder – Galerie Kovacek, Vienna.
  • 18.10.2019 - 17.11.2019 POSTCARD RELOADED - Kunstraum Potsdam c/o Waschhaus.
  • 03.11.2018 - 25.11.2018 Hundertwasser in Bad Soden - Stadtgalerie Bad Soden.
  • 19.02.2016 - 30.06.2016 RENDEZVOUS. Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Essl - ESSL MUSEUM Klosterneuburg.
  • 22.07.2015 - 18.10.2015 ARTISTS AND PROPHETS. SCHIELE, HUNDERTWASSER, KUPKA, BEUYS AND OTHERS - National Gallery, Prague.
  • 01.02.2015 - 10.05.2015 Hundertwasser. Lebenslinien - Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum, Hagen.
  • 20.10.2012 - 17.02.2013 Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Gegen den Strich - Kunsthalle Bremen.



  • 1997: Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria.
  • 1988: Medal of Honour of the Federal Capital Vienna.
  • 1985: Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
  • 1980: Grand Austrian State Prize for Fine Arts.
  • 1961: Mainichi-Preis, Tokyo.
  • 1959: Sanbra-Preis at the V. Biennale, São Paulo.



  • Hundertwassers Regentag, by Peter Schamoni, 45min, Germany 1972.



  • Planet Hundertwasser, Georgia Illetschko, Munich 2012.
  • Hundertwasser. Pierre Restany, New York 2008
  • Die Macht der Kunst. Hundertwasser. Der Maler-König mit den fünf Häuten, Pierre Restany, Cologne 1998.