Hans Erni

Hans Erni (21 February 1909 in Lucerne, 21 March 2015) was a Swiss painter, graphic artist and sculptor. He designed numerous lithographs, about 300 posters and several murals (for the Swiss Red Cross, the IOC, the UNO and UNESCO, The ICAO as well as many public and private companies), illustrated about 200 books, encyclopaedias and literary works, and produced designs for around 90 stamps (mainly for Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United Nations) as well as 25 medals for the Swiss National Bank (For the fourth banknote series 1938) and in 2009 the official 50-franc gold coin 100 years Pro Patria

After school, Erni began his apprenticeship as a surveying technician, but subsequently made a second apprenticeship as a draftsman. In 1927, he first had contacts with art literature and began his art studies in Lucerne. He first traveled to Paris, where he won the annual competition of the Académie Julian Because he was a foreigner, the prize was not paid to him Ten years later he was a jury member of the competition From 1930 to 1933 he held alternately in Lucerne and Paris. During this time he became acquainted with contemporary French painting – he was deeply impressed By Picasso and Braque

He organized an exhibition of the painters himself at the Kunstmuseum Lucerne. Picasso was grateful to him for the opportunity to exhibit his paintings in Switzerland. In 1936 he was co-founder of the artists’ association allianz

Erni was involved with Victor Surbek in the design of the Swiss National Bank’s fourth series of banknotes in 1938, designing the thousands, five-hundredth and fiftieth editions. The series was printed, but never circulated because it was a reserve series , Allegedly because a Lucerne parliamentarian had objected that “a Communist like Erni” had given this order. The reputation as Communist had never been part of a party, especially because of his friendship with Konrad Farner; After the Hungarian uprising of 1956, he finally dissociated himself. In the course of the Ficheaffäre, he received his 36 pages of Fiche in 1991

With various works such as a wall painting for the Swiss National Exhibition, he became known to the general public in 1939. From 1940 to 1945 he completed his active service as a camouflage artist. 1950 he made his first ceramics Between 1950 and 1952 took place in several important cities of America individual exhibitions The Sao Paulo Biennale 1951 was forbidden to him by the then Federal Councilor Philipp Etter After spending a year in Mauritania and Guinea, he painted many African sujets. In 1960, he and Alfred Pauletto, Celestino Piatti, Hugo Wetli and Kurt Wirth took part in the exhibition Graphic artist as a painter In 1964 he was a participant of the documenta III in Kassel in the graphic department

From 1961 to 1993 Erni Corresponding Member of the Academy of the Arts of the GDR, Section of Fine Arts Erni designed three stamp series for the Principality of Liechtenstein: “250 years of the Principality of Liechtenstein” (1969), “Sapporo 1972 (Olympic Winterspiele)” (1971) He also designed numerous series of stamps for the United Nations and Switzerland, including portraits of Max Bill, Albert Einstein, Alberto Giacometti, Hermann Hesse, Arthur Honegger, Paul Klee, Le Corbusier, Thomas Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke His 50-cent Europamarke «Luft und Wasser» (1986) was awarded several international prizes and was awarded the best brand of the year

The gradual rehabilitation as an artist began 1966 with an exhibition in Schaffhausen In 1968 Erni received the Luzerner Kunstpreis The Swiss Kunstmuseen still boycotted him and his works despite (or because of) his continuing popularity

On September 15, 1979, the Hans Erni Museum was opened in the Luzerner Verkehrshaus with a very large collection of works by the artist. For this he painted a 30-meter-long wall painting Panta rhei (“everything flows”),

Erni committed himself intensively to the sport, so he painted a lot of pictures on the subject and designed twice the medals of the rowing and once the hockey and handball world championships. The United States Sports Academy appointed him as a sports artist of the year 1989

Since 1951 Ernis works in the USA have been shown at 48 exhibitions, among others in the Pence Gallery in San Francisco in 1993, Lucerne awarded him the honorary citizen dignity.

Erni has also served political purposes for his convictions, nationally for campaigns (eg for the introduction of the AHV or of the women’s voting), internationally especially for nature conservation and against nuclear weapons. He painted pictures to commemorate the terror attacks of 11 September 2001 and the tsunami of 26 December 2004 In 2005 he was given the honorary medal for his life in Saint-Paul-de-Vence Since the 1980s, Hans Erni lived in this city, where Marc Chagall once lived

On January 10th, 2009, Hans Erni was given the Swiss Lifetime Award 2008, one month before his 100th birthday. In recognition of his lifework, Erni worked in the studio every day until his one hundredth year