Johann Hauser: *1926 in Bratislava, Slovakia

† 1996 in Niederösterreich, Austria

Johann Hauser, born on November 30, 1926, in Bratislava, Slovakia, was a significant Austrian artist of the 20th century. His life was marked by a journey through mental health challenges and a discovery of remarkable artistic talent. At the age of 17, due to his mental illness, he began residing in the Maria Gugging clinic near Vienna. It was there that his artistic abilities started to emerge.

In 1981, Dr. Leo Navratil established "The House of Artists" in Gugging, providing a communal space for Hauser and other patients who had shown artistic promise. This environment served not only as their residence but also as a studio, gallery, and space for artistic exchange.

Hauser's serious pursuit of painting began in the 1970s, influenced by his deep appreciation for nature and the rural landscapes of Styria. His paintings often portrayed scenes of farm life, animals, and people with a simplicity and vividness that captivated viewers. His style, characterized by its naive elements, soon gained recognition, positioning him as a leading figure in the Austrian art scene.

Despite the challenges of his early life, Hauser's talent was undeniable. Discovered by his psychiatrist, Dr. Navratil, his artworks were initially part of psychiatric investigations but quickly gained traction within avant-garde circles in the 1960s. His first exhibition in 1970 marked a turning point, as collectors began to take notice of his work, willing to invest significantly in his drawings.

Hauser spent much of his life in Graz, remaining active as a painter until his passing in 1996. His legacy endures as an exemplar of Art Brut, characterized by its raw expressiveness and distinct style.