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Hermann Hesse

Mill of Biogno

watercolour and pencil on grey paper
1923
18 x 21,6 cm / 7 x 8 1/2 in.
titled and dated lower right verso stamp of Heiner Hesse, the artist's son, and numbered '260'

Hermann Hesse grew up in the Black Forest, completed an apprenticeship as a bookseller in Basel, Switzerland, and in 1904 published the novel "Peter Camenzind", which was so successful that the revenues permitted him to work as an author full time. He travelled to India, where he was inspired to write one his most famous and bestselling books in 1922: "Siddharta". In 1912 he moved to Bern. World War I and trouble in his family plunged the poet into depression. Psychoanalysis was a turning point for him. During the war he began topaint small watercolours as a therapy. These soon became self-contained works, which he could sell during hard times to ensure a small income. In 1919 Hesse moved to Montagnola in Ticino, the Italian part of Switzerland, where his most prolific period began, in regard to his writings as well as his art. The first exhibition of his watercolours was shown at Kunsthalle Basel in 1920. The portfolio "Elf Aquarelle aus dem Tessin" (Eleven watercolours from Ticino) was published in 1921. In 1922 his watercolours were presented in Winterthur alongside works by Emil Nolde. Starting with small autodidactic pictures to overcome a crisis in his life, Hesse created approximately 3000 watercolours, an important artistic oeuvre, which conveys the beauty of the Ticino in bright colours.

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