Painting / Canvas
1969 - 1972
1973 - 1974
1975 - 1983
1984 - 2003
Painting / Paper
1972 - 2000





W E R N E R   H A N S C H E


Werner Hansche, born 1928 in Mannheim, Germany, the only child of a farmer’s daughter and a shipbuilding engineer, always was a self-willed individualist, for whom any attempts to bring him up to become a reasonable, rationally thinking and acting adult, were doomed to failure. This meant that he gained little from what his schooling had to offer.
He left school early to become a dancer but a damaged heart prevented anything from coming of this. In 1947 he enrolled at the Mannheim Academy of the Liberal Arts to study sculpture. After just one year he had already fallen out with all the teachers. More Photos - follow the link below

He left the academy and muddled through with casual jobs, trying his luck as a mime, actor and revue artist. He collected things that had a magic attraction for him and allowed them to tell their own story. In 1963 he opened an antique shop, where he put up for sale, everything he had previously collected.

Here, in 1963, he met the actress Heide Bernhoeft – 15 years his junior – the offspring of a family of opera singers, actors and musicians. She became his muse and companion. For both of them it was love at first sight, which became the love of their lives. Heide provided him with the framework in which he could develop. He designed clothes, created jewellery and  painted textiles for her until in 1968, at the age of forty, in a spontaneous, involuntary act of liberation, he discovered painting. The pictures poured from him. There was nothing for it, but to surrender to them. Like a diviner, he had been searching for twenty years and had now finally found his source (of pictures). This source and he were one; and as experience changed him, so his pictures changed too. Most of the titles came from Heide. They are approximations.

In 1972 Werner and Heide suddenly sold their antique business, gave up their flat and following a vague longing, moved with their many tubes of paint and canvas, first to Nepal and then on to Sri Lanka. In 1974 they returned, bought a farmhouse in the Westerwald where Werner Hansche could withdraw and paint, leaving the outside world behind. Since May 2000, Werner and Heide have lived in Duesseldorf.

Werner Hansche gently passed away on 6 April 2010.

Ich mal halt - Foto Biographie 1928 - 2010 ... up next
the photo biography from
1928 - 2010

Press reviews

There stands an artist, looking like a Buddhist monk… standing shyly by amongst a colour-hungry group… He lets the people gaping at his appearance wash over him… what is important are his paintings… He paints daydreams and dreams as he paints … He does not interpret emotional states, he paints them directly… He paints: the soul, joy, anxiety, music, air and relieves distress, which causes others to go to the psychotherapist. And  by painting dreams and anxieties, he resolves them in the observer. What more can an artist do?



. . . Parsimony has never been his subject. Hansche has the creative ease of someone who lives to the full: abundance of joy, the cornocopia of life and  - above all – fullness of heart . . Without doubt, gushing sense of colour, vital humanity are dominant in Hansche’s oeuvre. Moreover his range of colour shows a most delicate blending and subtle variation. His spirit dwells both in “couleurs harmonisées”, in a “peinture d’élégance”, in paintings of calm like the peaceful quiet after a storm, of a melodious serenitiy after waves of powerful outbursts. Thoroughly bored by the soulless towns, which pursue us right to the museums with the detritus of their mindless consumption – do our hearts now not long for art like that of Werner Hansche?


A proliferate abundance of colour characterises the post-Asiatic Hansche, coupled with elegant, light freedom in the treatment of his subject… Animals and humans are dumbfounded but react to this rush of colour and vegetation as if in a state of unquestioned happiness….  The large fairground paintings are marked by the same poetic spirit which fascinates Hansche, just like any other artist between dream and reality… and the painful, candy pink “Marriage of the Siamese Twins” is certainly Hansche’s saddest picture right from the beginning to the present day.


Werner Hansche’s paintings are dominated by colour. Using colour, he gives form to his innermost ideas and compresses them into expressions of pressing intensity. One experiences absolute honesty with oneself, when one listens to him…


These are pictures of the soul, timelessly distant and yet familiar to us, beyond all fashion vogues and dabbling academia. Whether they are found to be surreal, mythical or symbolic, they cannot be pigeon-holed or analysed. They are profound yet simple, absurd and original, happy and sad at the same time – just like HANSCHE.


Uninfluenced by the art business, not tied to any programme, not rendered lifeless by routine, the artist, who has retained something of the hippy and globe-trotter, creates the inner pictures of humanity, the original experiences of birth and death, light and dark, man and woman in a way that is both poetic and original …. In contrast to the round forms and solitariness of his earlier pictures, there are now corners and edges, forms that remain open as if the human being, Hansche, had learned, thanks to art, to live with the conflicts and harshness of existence, without having to harmonise them…


In the meantime Hansche discovered new composition media. The picture structures have again become consolidated, but not in their old organic roundness, but in crystalline refractions, in lighter, sometimes almost aggressive colours amongst which we can now include white, in architectonic details and many ornamental, script symbols. The artist of still creates from dreams and old myths – to this extent the new pictures can be identified with Hansche at first glance. But he has loosened the shackles and seems to be working more spontaneously and at the same time at a greater distance and has developed adventurous techniques in order to master the wealth of new possibilities….


© 2019 Werner Hansche - VG Bild-Kunst