Updated Thursday 8.45am

Clemens Hasengschwandtner, renowned for his colourful pop-inspired art and characteristic interpretation of Malta-linked themes, died this week. 

Austrian by birth and born in 1972, he first visited Malta in 1997 and was captivated by its nuances and Mediterranean joie de vivre, which he translated onto his collage-like canvases.   

He eventually opened a wine bar and art gallery in Vittoriosa which showcased his paintings. Since 2014, he has been married to his wife Noni. 

Hasengschwandtner died in Berlin on Monday.

His paintings are narratives of the everyday as it casually happens – humour, social comment and all. 

A typical Malta-themed landscape by the Austrian artist. Photos: Facebook.comA typical Malta-themed landscape by the Austrian artist. Photos: Facebook.com

He weaved colour into storylines that deliciously unfold before one’s eyes – he integrated local mythologies and lore thus rooting the art to this tiny island that he loved so much. 

Clemens and his wife Noni. Photo: FacebookClemens and his wife Noni. Photo: Facebook

The flow of colours and their vibrancy are reminiscent of the work of fellow Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000), whose oeuvre is instantly recognisable by the chromatic beauty of the spirals and other motifs, probably originating from Maori and other ‘primitive’ pictorial traditions. 

People commissioned Clemens to illustrate personal life experiences which he successfully integrated into a pictorial biography of that person. 

A joyful colourful interpretation of our planet by Clemens.A joyful colourful interpretation of our planet by Clemens.

Besides painting, he also embarked on sculpture in Maltese limestone being the sculptural medium of choice for a period of time, before venturing into alternative possibilities offered by wood.  

His wife said: “I have been so deeply blessed to spend the past nine years of my life in such a harmonious relationship with Clemens, as his wife, as his best friend; we were literally inseparable; working and living together every day, 24/7. 

"I have lost my best friend and the love of my life. My heart despairs. I don’t understand how or why this had to happen so soon. He was by my side all the time, right to the very end. 

"But I also know the reality of being without him will hit me and my daughter when we return home to Malta. To see his works, his work area, his brushes, and so on. I don't know if time can heal this deep wound. He had the biggest, most caring heart I know. He loved and was loved by so many. I am so grateful for everyone who could appreciate his life and his art.”

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