Siebdruck Hermann Hesse raucht
Andy-Warhol-Portrait-Hermann-Hesse-II-Siebdruck-1984 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York

Hermann Hesse - Poet, Painter, Idol

Even sixty years after his death, Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) is still one of the world's most popular and best-selling writers. In their radical subjectivity, his novels are existential parables, parables, legends, biographies of the soul, journeys to the foundations of the self.
Hesse was a forerunner of the beat poets and the artists of awakening: Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac and Carlos Santana read and loved him. It is precisely his unfashionable insistence on conscience, spirit, meaning, and the soulfulness of life that seems so fresh and provocatively alternative today. Yet our problems have been largely the same since Hesse's day: the law of money, mindless arbitrariness, the massification and anonymization of life. Still progressive, on the other hand, is Hesse's call to stubbornness, to resistance against conformity and heteronomy in the face of conformity in institutions, schools, media, and parliaments.
Early on, Hesse began to add pen and ink drawings to the manuscripts of his poems, which he later also colored. Gradually he succeeded in perfecting his self-taught attempts at painting to such an extent that today his pictures complement and expand his literary work as expressive pictorial works. As he said himself, between his painting and poetry is no discrepancy, because in both he pursues "not the naturalistic, but the poetic truth" (Hesse 1920).
Our collection of Hermann Hesse's works consists of over 90 watercolors, watercolor letters, manuscripts, typescripts, photographs, films, illustrations. These items can illustrate Hermann Hesse's life and work in new ways at any time. His literary and pictorial development can be documented chronologically and reflected in its reception history. This includes numerous documents on the Hesse renaissance of the 1960s and 1970s, when his books triggered a wave of enthusiasm that inspired numerous artists to create film adaptations, illustrations and settings of Hesse's works.

In addition, the accompanying educational program Face Art - Face Future is available for teenagers and young adults aged 14 to 18.