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Work Description
About artist
Rudolf Häsler
Interlaken, 1927 — 1999

Rudolf Häsler (29.7.1927, Interlaken - 18.1.1999, Sant Cugat del Vallès) has worked as a primary school teacher in Interlaken since 1947. At the same time, however, he took painting lessons and travelled throughout Europe. In 1952 he gave up teaching and devoted himself completely to art. Trips to the Sahara, Seville, Granada, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Andalusia followed. In 1956 he met María Dolores Soler in Granada. In 1957 he travels with her to Cuba to her hometown Santiago de Cuba and marries her there. Fascinated by the country, Häsler decided to stay in Cuba and started a family there.
In Cuba, Häsler experienced the climax of the Cuban Revolution, and he himself was enthusiastic about the atmosphere of change. He wanted to play an active role in this social change and joined a group of artists who were particularly dedicated to art on buildings. He also developed a concept for the establishment of a nationwide ceramics industry, which was approved by the government. Häsler was promoted to managing advisor in the newly founded National Institute of Decorative Arts and was made director in 1960. He is the second highest foreign deputy in the Cuban state after the Argentinean revolutionary hero Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the then Minister of Industry.

The subsequent transformation of the government towards an increasingly totalitarian and militaristic regime was disillusioning for Häsler. The secret police kept an eye on him and in 1963 he lost his post. Falsified documents were published about him, defaming him as a former member of the SS and as a CIA spy for the USA. Häsler withdrew from public life and focused on hes carreer as a freelance artist and in 1969, after a long and nerve-racking authorization process, he was finally able to leave Cuba with his family. Häsler recorded his life in Cuba in the book Kuba – Freiheit oder Terror: Ein Maler erlebt die Revolution, published in 1984.
From 1970 Häsler lived in Sant Cugat del Vallès in the province of Barcelona. In the 1990s he went on study trips to Algeria, Tangier, Vienna, and Turkey.

Häsler became known above all for his realistic, sometimes hyper-realistic paintings and drawings, which were created from the end of the 1960s, after his time in Cuba, and which allow comparisons with the work of Franz Gertsch, Ralph Goings or Antonio López Garcia. In 1989 a large retrospective in Barcelona was dedicated to him. Since many of his paintings were created in connection with his travels through the Arab world, Häsler is also considered to belong to the School of Orientalists.


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Rudolf Häsler