First published: Spring 2014
Robert Kueppers (RK): Mr Fischer, please introduce yourself to me!
Hans Fischer (HF): I am Hans Fischer. I was working in a flower wholesalers in St Gallen with my brother, and I had this open-fronted store. There we had customers who were florists, and other customers such as Hans Krüsi.
RK: My name is Robert Kueppers. I am 49 years old and assistant manager of a big film production company in Munich. Back when I got to know Theo, I had just graduated from high school and I was finishing an internship in the nursing home where Theo lived. It was there, in that nursing home, that I met Theo.
When and how did you first hear about Hans Krüsi? How did you become acquainted with Hans Krüsi?
HF: Krüsi always came to us in the morning to buy flowers. He established himself as a flower seller. He mainly sold in the Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich, and what he did not sell there he sold on his way home on the St. Gallen train, in a restaurant or on the street in St. Gallen. His favourite flowers were rhododendrons and daffodils that he picked himself. Roses were his main supply and he bought them in Zürich or at our shop in St Gallen.
RK: How did you hear about the art of Hans Krüsi?
HF: He would come to us in the store in the morning, between 8:00 to 9:00. He had plenty of time because he took the train to Zürich at noon. He spent three hours with us, doing business then drinking coffee and eating Kipferl [sweet pastries, similar to croissants]. We could not take care of what was going on around us all the time, because we had so much to do, and he was left to his own devices.
Krüsi then began to paint at the bar in the store, and I saw that there was something there. We gave him paper, bought coloured pencils, and gave him this and that. After that, things became very interesting. I was amazed at his momentum and what he was producing on the paper. I was very impressed, and the customers also knew it was special. Then I started to sell the pictures for him, for 5 to 20 Swiss francs. And, in time, we made a checkout at the bar in the flower shop and renamed the bar “Krüsi bar.”
He then provided painted coasters and napkins to the restaurants. This brought him joy. But he was not yet known, and I could not make him known in the art world. He did it himself though, by going to the Buchmann Gallery. He then went to various museums in Switzerland and was taken on and formed contacts. Thus the art world became aware of him.
He had never painted previously, he only began when he used to wait for us at the store. That was about 1980. Our customers knew him, and it was important to us that he felt at home with us.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #81