Haas, Kurt

Swiss artist Kurt Joseph Haas. Born in 1935 in Zürich, Haas began to draw on a whim in 1975, at the age of forty, using coloured pencils borrowed from his daughters on a rainy day when he felt idle. Four of his drawings were immediately exhibited in Zürich in an surrealist show. In 1986, the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne also took an interest in his work.
He was impressed by Adolf Wölfli (whom he considered to be the greatest artist of the twentieth century) and Scottie Wilson. He created colourful motifs, primitive symbols, monsters, stylised profiles, birds, stars, cacti, palm trees… all usually covered the outline of a large totemic face which served as the central point of the composition. As in the traditional art of mask making in Africa an the Americas, the fixed gaze and the vaguely macabre insistence on the mouth – always represented open with two rows of teeth – produces a gently hypnotic effect that reinforces the psychedelic colouring of the whole piece.

Text: Laurent Danchin

Kurt Haas
1935 Zürich, Switzerland -