Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (1928 -- 2000) was an Austrian artist. Born Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna, he became one of the best-known contemporary Austrian artists, although controversial, by the end of the 20th century.
Hundertwasser developed artistic skills very early. After the war, he spent three months at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. At this time he began to sign his art as Hundertwasser instead of Stowasser. He left to travel, using a small set of paints he carried at all times to sketch anything that caught his eye. In Florence he met the young French painter Rene Bro for the first time; they became lifelong friends. Hundertwasser's first commercial painting success was in 1952-3 with an exhibition in Vienna.
His adopted surname is based on the translation of "sto" (the Slavic word for "one hundred") into German. The name Friedensreich has a double meaning as "Peaceland" or "Peacerich" (in the sense of "peaceful"). The other names he chose for himself, Regentag and Dunkelbunt, translate to "Rainy day" and "Darkly multicoloured". His name Friedensreich Hundertwasser means, "Peace-Kingdom Hundred-Water".
Hundertwasser also worked in the field of applied art, creating flags, stamps, coins, and posters. His most famous flag is the Koru Flag. As well as postage stamps for the Austrian Post Office, he also designed stamps for the Cape Verde islands and for the United Nations postal administration in Geneva on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He moved into architecture from the early 1950s.
Hundertwasser's original and unruly artistic vision expressed itself in pictorial art, environmentalism, philosophy, and design of facades, postage stamps, flags and clothing (among other areas). The common themes in his work utilised bright colours, organic forms, a reconciliation of humans with nature, and a strong individualism, rejecting straight lines.
He remains sui generis, although his architectural work is comparable to Antoni Gaudí (1852--1926) in its use of biomorphic forms and the use of tile. He was also inspired by the art of the Vienna Secession, and by the Austrian painters Egon Schiele (1890--1918) and Gustav Klimt (1862--1918).He was fascinated by spirals, and called straight lines "the devil's tools". He called his theory of art "transautomatism", based on Surrealist automatism, but focusing on the experience of the viewer, rather than the artist.
Hundertwasser was buried in New Zealand after his death at sea on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2000, at the age of 71.