Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What I didn't know about Hermann Hesse

At the university where I teach, I was gazing recently at a print of a painting pinned up in someone’s office, and discovered that it had been painted by Hermann Hesse, of all people. This was a delightful surprise, although it shouldn’t have been, actually. Hesse’s writing and mode of inquiry should make him a compelling visual artist.

His work is artistically na├»ve and suffused with serenity, depth, soft colors – just what you would expect.

And then I realized that his paintings are very much like the work of one of my favorite Baku artists – a man named Zakir. (He isn’t the same Zakir who shows in some of Baku’s better-known galleries. This Zakir is not very established, and sells his work through friends of his on the Passage, near the Targova.)

The first two paintings above are by Hesse – one of some 3,500 he painted during his lifetime. The work below is by Zakir. I have three of his paintings in the US, and one in Baku, waiting for my return.

Go here or here for more information on Hermann Hesse’s art. (His friend Carl Jung also painted, although I can’t find any information on Jung’s art.)