Published: November 25th 2010November 24th 2010
Vienna is the capital of Austria and has a population of about 1,700,000 people.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born in Vienna in 1928 and died in 2000. By the end of the 20th century, he was arguably the best-known living artist in Austria. The common themes in his work are a rejection of the straight line, bright colors, organic forms, a blending of humans with nature, and a strong individualism. Although he first achieved notoriety for his colorful paintings, he is more known for his architectural designs, which incorporate natural features of the landscape and use of irregular forms in his building design. He rejected standard architecture and thought that the design of a building should be influenced by the tenants. Hundertwasser is also known for his performance art and has appeared nude in public in order to promote an ecologically friendly toilet that uses less water. We toured an area in Vienna where an apartment building was built to his specifications. It is colorful and non-symmetrical. One either likes it or not. I happened to have liked it.
Vienna had another resident who lived there many years before Hundertwasser. His name was Adolph Hitler and he was from the
town of Linz. He roomed for awhile with a friend, August Kubizek. Hitler had dropped out of school and had attempted to get into the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. He was turned down for lack of talent. His friend described him as a night owl who slept till noon, went out for long walks during the day, and stayed up late at night discussing the social issues of the time. He is also described as having an unstable personality and a terrible temper. Later, Hitler and his friend parted company and he moved from place to place. He made no attempt to find work and, after his savings was gone, he eventually pawned his possessions and wound up sleeping on park benches and asking strangers for money. He ended up moving into a homeless shelter and ate at a soup kitchen run by nuns. In 1910, he moved into a home for poor men and stayed there for a few years. He did odd jobs and sold pictures which he had copied of famous Vienna landmarks from postcards. Some years later he went to Germany and volunteered for the army after WWI broke out. The rest is history.
The Vienna Zoo is billed as the oldest zoo in the world. Whether or not that is true makes no difference. It is a fine zoo and is worth seeing. We arrived there in late morning and spent most of the day there.
There are more photos below