In Remembrance: Erwin Hauer ’57ArtS Died on December 22 2017

Erwin Hauer passed away on December 22, 2017, at the age of 91.  A longtime resident of Bethany, he died at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford, Connecticut, after a short illness. 

Erwin Franz Hauer was born on January 18, 1926, in Vienna, Austria.  He first came to the United States in 1955 on a Fulbright, sponsored by the Rhode Island School of Design.  In 1956 Josef Albers, then the chair of Yale School of Art's Department of Design, brought him to Yale—first as a special student, and then as a junior faculty member. Hauer taught at Yale from 1963 to 1990, and when he retired, he was conferred the title of Professor Emeritus of Sculpture. Hauer's first book, Continua, published in 2004, quickly became a seminal tome for architects and 3D designers. Hauer's second book, Still Facing Infinity, is currently being published by Images Publishing for general release in February. 

Hauer was predeceased by his wife, the former Helen Takacs, and is survived by his son Nicholas and daughter Laura.  

—Submitted by Enrique Rosado of Erwin Hauer Studios.  

18 remembrances

  • Nestor Santa-Cruz
    Nestor Santa-Cruz, 3:19pm January 18 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    A design icon leaves us. But his legacy and inspiration stays and will last.

    Nestor Santa-Cruz
    Washington DC

  • William C. Bendig
    William C. Bendig, 3:49pm January 18 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    An Inadequate Tribute
    We of the Hollycroft Foundation are comforted that our 25th Anniversary Catalogue was dedicated (Cover and Text) to Erwin shortly before his passing. The new SCULPTURE MILE Exhibition in New London, CT begins and ends with outstanding sculptures by this brilliant artist and longtime friend.

  • Mr. Daniele Perna
    Mr. Daniele Perna , 4:03pm January 18 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I had the opportunity to work with Mr. Hauer directly in 2011. I was working on a boutique hotel design in Italy (Zafran Boutique Hotel) and knew his walls would be a key design element to the hotel courtyard the first day on the job site. I was waiting for years to find the right project, to work with Mr. Houer and his beautiful Light diffusing architectural sculptural walls. He was very happy that the project was the first in Italy to install his walls. He was a kind and compassionate man of great wisdom. I enjoyed my brief experience working with him. I wish his company continued success with many new projects. His work is an experience to embrace deeply.

    Daniele Perna
    Daniele Perna Designs
    New York, NY

  • Karen Stone
    Karen Stone, 4:10pm January 18 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Timeless and elegant, Erwin and his work, ever lasting and relevant today and beyond.

    Karen Stone
    Director of Design
    Knoll, Inc.

  • Peter Versteeg
    Peter Versteeg, 5:51pm January 18 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    A great loss and an inspiration. It was such a pleasure whenever he stopped by our studio in Bethany and talked about art. He would bring us prototype castings to weld together. "Whenever you have time" he would say. We will always think of him often. His wall designs were amazing and beautiful as well as his cast bronze nudes.
    I know his designs will live on forever.

    Peter Versteeg
    Versteeg Art Fabricators, LLC

  • Lisa Kaslow
    Lisa Kaslow, 10:10pm January 18 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Professor Erwin Hauer taught me how to see. I had the privilege of being a student in his sculpture classes at Yale from 1971-1975. Erwin's obsession with the space time continuum inspired me to become a sculptor. He opened my eyes forever. We remained deepest friends connected by our love of space. He influenced generations of young artists who will keep his spirit alive.

    Lisa Kaslow

  • Kiko Salomão - architect
    Kiko Salomão - architect, 8:51am January 19 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Lose a friend dear is difficult, but losing a master is too much!
    Erwin have taught so many students, have contributed so much for art, have challenged design.
    The world has lost an irreplaceable human being, for his work and mainly for his simplicity.
    Thank you so much for teaching us!

    Kiko Salomão

  • Ulrike Johannsen
    Ulrike Johannsen, 9:52am January 19 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Erwin created his amazing wallscreen Design #1 as a young student in Vienna. The screen is realized and approachable at Dorotheergasse 20-24 in Vienna, Austria. This masterpiece as well as serendipity connected us some years ago. I feel very honored and enriched to have been the friend of this kind man and outstanding artist. His passing is a great loss for me but his work, most elegant and mysteriously perfect, will stay with us.
    Thank you, Erwin!

    Ulrike Johannsen
    Vienna, Austria

  • molly mason, sculptor/ public artist
    molly mason, sculptor/ public artist, 6:04pm January 20 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Oh, I am so saddened to learn of the passing of this brilliant sculptor and designer.Profoundly luminous , elegant and timeless work. Such a subtle, funny and deeply thoughtful person. Was so happy for him, when he received terrific later-in-life opportunities, such as the brilliant screens at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and the Daniel Perna Projects building in Italy. May his design firm continue to create gorgeous installations of his work, around the world. Molly Mason, Sculptor/ Public Artist

  • Norman Kenneth Carlberg
    Norman Kenneth Carlberg, 9:28pm January 20 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I have a snapshot of Erwin taken on graduation day sitting in the shade with friends - looking calm and at peace with the world. I like to remember that image of him. I also remember his influence on my own work. Before his arrival at Yale the idea of using moduals to make a sculpture or that a wall could be sculpture were unknown ideas to me but they became an important part of much of my work as a result of seeing Erwin's sculpture. The ideas themselves are not necessarily arresting, we drive by walls made of red clay units every day without noticing them. But when Erwin showed us the images of his wall in the church in Endberg, Vienna, the response was dramatic. That was a truly marvelous work of art, an image I will always carry with me. Thank you Erwin

  • Ann P. Lehman
    Ann P. Lehman, 11:28am January 22 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Erwin was a dear friend for many years. He would always welcome and inspire my students at the barn in Bethany. The memory of his flourished opening of the loft sliding door that revealed dozens of his beautiful sculptures was breathtaking. His brilliant insight combined with his gentle nature will always be treasured by me.

  • Julie Otsuka
    Julie Otsuka, 11:59am January 22 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I had the tremendous good fortune to study sculpture with Erwin Hauer from 1981-1984 as an undergraduate art major at Yale. Although I ended up becoming a writer and not a sculptor, everything that I learned from him—humility before one’s subject, an understanding of how a line moves through space, an appreciation for rhythm and form—informs my work to this day.

    As a teacher, he was rigorous, wise and exceedingly generous. He would drive his students into the city to see a show, or out to a foundry, or over to his studio to show us what he was working on at the moment (condors!), and at the end of every semester he would arrive at Hammond Hall with a smoked and peppered bluefish that he himself had cured and the entire class would have a feast.

    Erwin was a brilliant, gracious soul with a self-deprecating sense of humor who looked hard and deep at the world. He was my first and best teacher, and I feel fortunate to have known him, and, like so many of us, will miss him dearly.

    Julie Otsuka
    New York, NY

  • Pendarestan
    Pendarestan, 7:26pm January 30 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I would like to offer my condolences to Erwin Hauer's family and friends.

    A tribute:

  • Ronald Berlin
    Ronald Berlin, 12:37pm February 03 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    In his sculpture course, forty-four years ago, Erwin had us study and sculpt a Rhinoceros femur and a gigantic tibia. He might move you to a spot, hold you gently by the shoulder with a massive paw, crouch a little, and direct your sight-line along the bone’s surface to enable you to understand how its form changed through space. After months of absorbing this modest man’s visual wisdom, you came to understand that, in fact, it was space that you were sculpting. Erwin’s mastery of the interplay between the positive and the negative – the yin and yang of the dimensional universe – became his great gift to culture, and to us lucky ones who were his students.

    I’ve never known someone in the arts as free of bullshit and pretense as Erwin. He would offer a visitor to his Bethany studio a foil-wrapped bluefish that he caught in the Long Island Sound, smoked in an old refrigerator that he modified for the purpose. And then he would find wonderfully apt and precise language, Austrian-accented, to describe the shape of a Condor’s tail, or a smile, or a sail. Erwin, though he tripped through a mathematician’s infinite spaces, really got to the bones of things.

    Ronald Berlin
    Architect and Artist
    Princeton, NJ

  • Susan Wiebe
    Susan Wiebe, 2:00pm February 18 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Erwin, friend, companion before you left us you said, " I hope I have taught you said, "I hope I have taught you something." Twenty two years of somethings! thank you for the beautiful legacy of sculpture you leave to the world, especially to the world of figurative sculture. Pondering Woman , a life-size bronze for which I posed, is my proudest honor.
    May the figures, and my beloved Condors find their fame beside the famed ligt emitting walls.
    I will never forget you.
    Susan Wiebe
    Artist and model
    Ridgefield, CT

  • Bryony Romer
    Bryony Romer, 4:57pm October 29 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I had the great privilege of studying with Erwin Hauer from 1988-1990 at the end of his teaching career at Yale. I took several figurative sculpture classes with him, beginning with the famed elephant bone, and learned a great deal about form. What stands out the most, though --I asked him to be on my thesis committee for my feminist performance art-based thesis project. I was a little unsure about this at the time -- he was (to me then) a very old German guy who taught figurative sculpture, and I wasn't sure what he would make of my three-hour collaborative cyclical performance! He was totally and completely supportive -- curious, engaged, came with his cane to the basement of Trumbull college, and was able to look at the project that I was trying to do and critique it from my perspective. Very unusual and lovely. He was a supremely gifted teacher, and I'm so grateful that I had the pleasure of learning from him.

  • Martin Mugar
    Martin Mugar, 5:52am March 07 2019 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I just emailed him to send him the manuscript of the drawing and painting book that I am finishing up to which he contributed an image of his sculpture in 2014. In it I discuss his teaching. The email came back and I feared that he had passed away..He was a great teacher and I was glad to hear his work was getting recognition. I have the manuscript and would like to send it to someone. It will eventually be self-published.
    Martin Mugar

  • Adam Pincus
    Adam Pincus, 6:36am November 07 2021 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    -The smell of coffee
    -Slightly bent over due to his leg injury, holding a disposable coffee cup in one hand and with the index finger of that hand, pointing to the model or bone. His other hand on the cane.
    -Asking the model permission to touch, when he was indicating on the body his point.
    -Encouraging students to teach other students the art of plaster to plaster casting, as he had learned it.
    -I told him I was taking German, and he said, "Vie Gehts," which is the most basic way of saying, how's it going, and I did not understand. I realized my heart was not in it, and I dropped that language class shortly thereafter.
    -I took one or another of his classes nearly every semester I was an undergrad, and I loved his warmth, the warmth of the space and soft light from plaster and clay dust. I continued as an artist after graduation.
    -As all his students know, once you took his class, you never ever looked at a bone the same way again. Or really anything else.

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