I have recently returned from a trip to Vienna where I was lucky enough to visit the Hundertwasser House and Museum. I must admit that I did not know a huge amount about the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser before this, other than seeing pictures of the amazing Humdertwasser House (see below)
The house is certainly a high point of any visit to Vienna but it is in the museum where I really began to find out more about this fascinating artist. Looking at his fantastical, dream-like paintings , created with beautiful, vibrant colours, my main thought was, ‘my Art Explorers would LOVE this.’
On returning home I did a bit of research and found ‘Harvesting Dreams- Hundertwasser For Kids’ by Barbara Stieff (Prestel). I was hoping for a bit more background about the artist and his paintings but this book is much more than that. It is written for children but is in no way patronising and is a great and informative read for adults too. It is under-pinned by the importance of creativity in all its forms and sets about challenging the reader to think creatively, as Hundertwasser did throughout his life. It takes the reader through the whole of the artist’s life, beginning in war time Vienna. Each chapter relates to a different aspect of Hundertwasser’s creative output and also sets the reader creative challenges such as creating your own symbol, changing your name or designing a dream home. These are brilliant starting points for creative thinking and would be great fun for adults and children to explore together.
The book takes us on a journey though the artists’s very unusual life and shows children that there are many interesting paths their lives could take. It brings together aspects of visual art, nature, architecture and travel and presents a world view that challenges the status quo. At the back of the book there are lots of ideas for practical activities that tie in with themes in the book. In a world where the education children receive at school is increasingly narrowing it seems that we could all do with a bit of Hundertwasser in our lives.