Friedensreich Hundertwasser*
(Vienna 1928–2000 near Brisbane, Australia)
831 Tender Dinghi, 1982
64 x 43 cm
Estimated price: € 250,000–350,000

“Dinghies are small boats that you put on a larger boat or tow along on a rope and use to go ashore and get supplies. My ‘Regentag Dinghy’ was built in 1970 in Venice for its ‘mother ship’; it’s made of fibreglass and has been patched up so often with new layers that I frequently have difficulty pulling it ashore. You can row it, propel it with an up to 6 hp outboard motor, and even sail it if you insert a daggerboard down the slot in the middle. I often use it to travel through the mangrove canal or home from the ship or from Opua.”

Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s brief explanation of the word “dinghy” evokes dreams of a life in unspoiled nature, of adventure and exciting atmospheres. And it was in his own language of images and colours that Hundertwasser also captured this impression in one of his most poetic paintings: 831 Tender Dinghi.

It was during the early 1970s that Hundertwasser first went to New Zealand, where he spent the following years acquiring multiple properties in Kaurinui Valley on the Bay of Islands and realising his dream of living and working within and with nature. To travel on the canals—to his ship Regentag [Rainy Day] or to Opua—he used his dinghy, as well as the small steel-hulled boat La Giudecca later on.

This painting is an outstanding example of one of Hundertwasser’s most important motivic categories: the ship. The artist had been interested in ships since his childhood, and he was fond of painting his associated imaginings: ships, smokestacks, and portholes appear repeatedly as motifs in his paintings, to which he gave poetic names such as Singing Steamer or Mouth-Boats. Hundertwasser’s most prominent ship was of course his own Regentag, with which he undertook his great journey from Europe to New Zealand.

831 Tender Dinghi numbers among Hundertwasser’s most popular paintings of the early 1980s and is fascinating for its intensity and harmony of colour, its soft reduction of forms, and its interesting view from a raised perspective.

This painting will go up for bidding in the auction “Contemporary Art” at Auktionshaus im Kinsky.

Text: Marianne Hussl-Hörmann, Auktionshaus im Kinsky