Friday, December 02, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ Rudolf Hausner's Fantastic Realism

Rudolf Hausner, painter, lithographer and etcher was born on 4 December 1914 in Vienna, Austria. He died in 1995.

Born as World War 1 began, he had reached young adulthood as World War2 erupted. He had studied art at The Academy in Vienna. In 1938 the ruling nazi party confiscated many of his paintings, branding them "degenerate". He was drafted into the German army and served until war's end in 1945. He returned to Vienna. The horrors of war were still fresh in the memories of citizens, the destruction visited upon their city ever evident, as were barricades, checkpoints, occupation zones, food stamps, shortages and the black market.

Hausner became engrossed in study of the unconscious and the art of Surrealists. Along with Wolfgang Hutter and Anton Lehmden, in 1947 he founded the Viennese School of Fantastic Realism. During the 1950's and 60's this art movement became one of Austria's most important, with Hausner its key influential artist. He concurrently held principal teaching posts at the academies of Vienna and Hamburg.

The complex subject matter in Hausner's paintings is based on potent symbolic imagery. There's a constantly recurring image of the first man, Adam. Adam in Hausner's paintings is part auto-biographical, part archetype. Another image he favoured was a man or boy in a sailor's cap. He claimed that this symbolized the myth of Odysseus and his epic voyages on the seas. It also is representative of the artist's own boyhood and integrated relationships of youth and age within the self.

Hausner's masterpiece, The Ark of Odysseus, was completed in 1956. He had worked on the painting for six years. It depicts the hero as a self-portrait and was a precursor to the series of Adam paintings in which Hausner painted his own features.

Very significant in Hausner's chart is Venus, planet of the arts in close harmonious trine aspect to Neptune, planet of creativity, dreams - and I guess, therefore the unconscious. Sun Mars and Venus in Sagittarius provide strong Sagittarian credentials: a philosophic and buoyant nature. From eccentric Uranus in its home sign Aquarius, along with Jupiter forming helpful sextile aspects to the Sagittarius planets comes his pull to portray the extraordinary and the fantastic. There's realism here too though, and clear technical painting skills comparable even to those of the Old Masters. I see this as relating to Saturn's position at 00 Cancer in scratchy quincunx (150*) aspect to Venus at 00 Sagittarius. His work portrays the extraordinary, the phantasmagorical and issues arising from the unconscious, but he uses traditional skills and disciplines to produce his paintings - fantastic realism!

Some examples:

See also:

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