The prolific and celebrated Swiss artist Hans Erni died at the weekend at the grand old age of 106. The sad news was announced on social media by his daughter from his first marriage, Simone Fornara-Erni, who is also an artist, via her Facebook page. She informed the world that he had "passed away peacefully" on Saturday. He leaves behind a wealth of artistic content ranging from the tiny to the grand, being an expert in illustrating postage stamps and also huge frescoes.
Having being born in Lucerne in Switzerland, he travelled to both France and Germany to study and advance his artistic abilities. Erni's early influences were from the Cubist movement, with such celebrated artists as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque believed to be among those whose work he admired.
During a varied career, he had extended his skills to incorporate not only painting and sculpture, but also graphic design, illustrations and engraving. Even the theatre incorporated his designs for their costumes and sets on occasion. Not surprisingly with such a variety of techniques at his disposal, he was a prodigious producer of work, with hundreds of paintings, etchings, engravings, sculptures, lithographs and even ceramics having being produced by his hands.
He first came to the public's attention in 1939, when his huge mural "Switzerland: Vacation Land of the People" gave him a commission and featured in the national exhibition in Zurich. Other commissions were soon offered to Erni, but he was never far from controversy in those early years due to his well-known views on communism, being viewed as a Marxist in some circles. As a result, although he did the artwork for the Swiss bank notes during the 1940s, they were never actually produced.
Erni continued to work into his 80s, belying his advancing years and continuing to produce fine artistic works, including work for the International Olympic Committee on a set of paintings. His excellence in producing #Art on a miniature scale led to him producing stamp designs not just for his native Switzerland, but also Liechtenstein and also the United Nations.
The official view regarding Erni softened somewhat in later years as he was honoured in 2004 by being made an "Honourable citizen of Lucerne". Many of his works can be viewed at the Hans Erni Museum in Lucerne, which is located in the grounds at the Swiss Museum of Transport. #Celebrities