Hermann Hesse landscape watercolors
Hermann Hesse, Nobel laureate 1946 – one of the most widely read authors of the XX century. All his art he called “protracted attempt to tell the story of my spiritual development”, “a biography of the soul.” One of the main themes of the writer – the fate of an artist in a hostile society, a place of true art in the world. Hermann Hesse began painting with great enthusiasm since the First World War. Being self-taught, the artist dabbled in different styles: from the naive art and modernism to the graphics. The main theme – landscape motifs in lush iridescent colors. Nature inspired Hesse and helped restore internal balance. Rich colors and soft light emanate from the pictures. Longing for harmony and happiness, Hermann Hesse has created the most significant legacy of 3000 watercolors. His paintings transfer the rainbow colors and beauty of Ticino – his chosen dwelling place on earth where he lived from 1919 and until his death in 1962.
In 1916, Hermann Hesse underwent psychoanalysis in clinic “Zonnmatt” near Lucerne. His doctor Lang urged him to express all his dreams on paper, but only in the form of drawings. The first works Hesse drew in Bern and around Locarno in Ticino. In 1917, Hesse became interested in the genre of self-portrait. In 1918 he undertook in Ticino further attempts to develop techniques of drawing, and illustrated his first book “Hiking” (published in 1920).
The first exhibition of watercolors by Hermann Hesse was held in the exhibition hall in Basel in 1920, the same year the journal “Wieland”, Munich, published the first reproduction of Hesse. In 1921 he published an album of “11 watercolors of Ticino.” In 1922 in Winterthur was held a joint exhibition of watercolors by Hermann Hesse and paintings by the artist Emil Nolde.
After the death of Hermann Hesse (1962), an exhibitions of his watercolors were held everywhere: Tokyo (1976 and 1996), Paris (1977), New York and Montreal (1980), San Francisco and Chicago (1981), Madrid (1985), Luxembourg ( 1987), Hamburg (1992), Sapporo (1995).
“My little watercolors – a kind of poetic fiction or dreams, they convey only a distant memory of “reality,” and change it according to personal feelings and sentiments (…) so that I am only an amateur and never forget about it.” (From a letter of 1919)
“To create with a pen and brush – it is for me like a good wine, intoxication from them is so warm …” (From a letter of 1920)
“The main theme – the simple landscape motifs, beyond that I’m likely to forge. As far as everything else is fine – the air, the animals, the movement and the most beautiful of all – people, of course…, and I can’t help painting” (From a letter of 1922)