Paintings of Hans Happ

hans1.jpg

circa 1940

Hans Happ (1889–1992) was born in Kempten; his parents came from Frankfurt. As a child he painted mostly horses as he lived next to a post office where horses came in and went out the whole day. The horse theme can often be seen later back in his paintings. In 1917 Happ went into military service; he was taken as a prisoner of war in France and released in 1920. From 1920 to 1923 he studied drawing and painting at the Munich Art Academy with Professor Becker Gundahl, Professor Ludwig von Herterich and Max Doerner. He moved in 1926 to Ludwigshafen. From 1933 onwards Happ lived in Frankfurt am Main; he became teacher at the Frankfurt Art Academy (‘Städelschule’).

Happ was a painter and, especially after WWII, a design-weaver and designer of mechanical toys in the form of animals such as swans, birds and horses. His painting style was strongly influenced by the 17th century.

Hans Happ’s work ‘Lesende’ (‘Reading’) was displayed in the International Pavillion at the World Exibition, 1937, Paris; a year later the same painting was displayed at the Great German Art Exhibition.

In 1934 and 1941 Happ was awarded the Kulturpreis of the City of Frankfurt. In 1942 he was represented with three works at the ‘Frühjahrs Austellung’ of the Preussische Akademie der Künste. A year later he took (with 10 works) part in the exhibition ‘Junge Kunst im Deutschen Reich’ in Vienna, organized by Reichsleiter Baldur von Schirach.

From 1938 to 1944 Hans Happ was represented with 17 works in the Great German Art Exhibitions. Several of them depicted Greek or Roman themes, including ‘Ausziehender Krieger’, ‘Thetis’, ‘Quell des Lebens’, ‘Raup der Proserpina’ and ‘Studie zur Odyssee’. His works were bought by Hitler (2), Robert Ley and Joseph Goebbels for prices of up to 15.000 Reichsmark. In 1944 Happ took part in the exhibition ‘Deutsche Künstler und die SS’ in Breslau and Salzburg. Of the 589 artworks, 63 were presented in a separate catalogue, including one of the works of Hans Happ.

At the end of World War II his house and atelier were bombed, and he went to the safer town of Schlitz. Later he moved to Ottoburg, where he stayed until 1956, and then to Dreieich where he died. After the war Hans Happ gave weaving lessons in his atelier in Schlitz (‘Bildweberei’) and he concentrated on designing and making mechanical toys. In 2004 the ‘Hessische Puppenmuseum’ (museum for dolls) organized an exhibition for Happ called ‘Snakes, Panther, Birds and Horses, mechanical toys from Hans Happ’.

 

The paintings of Hans Happ were hardly known in the last six decades, although several of them are magnificent. Deutsches Historisches Museum is in the possession ‘Thetis’ and ‘Studie zur Odysee’, both works bought by Hitler.

 

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Published in: on November 9, 2017 at 9:23 am  Leave a Comment  

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