Hans Falk was born in Zürich in 1918 and went on to study at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich and the art schools in Lucerne. His first commissioned works were posters and graphic designs, which won him numerous awards. Amongst his most important competition wins were a series of seven posters he designed for the 1964 Swiss National Exhibition. He went on to travel extensively, living abroad for extended periods in England, New York and Ireland. In his later years he divided his home between Switzerland and the Sicilian island of Stromboli. He died in 2002, after a fruitful career that produced a large body of paintings, posters and sought-after graphic designs, and made him one of the most important contemporary Swiss artists.
Henry Miller called 'The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder' his “most singular story.” First published in 1959, this touching fable tells of Auguste, a famous clown who could make people laugh but who sought to impart to his audiences a lasting joy. “Undoubtedly," he says in his explanatory epilogue, "it is the strangest story I have yet written. . . . No, more even than all the stories which I based on fact and experience is this one the truth. My whole aim in writing has been to tell the truth, as I know it. Heretofore all my characters have been real, taken from life, my own life. Auguste is unique in that he came from the blue. But what is this blue which surrounds and envelopes us if not reality itself? . . . We have only to open our eyes and hearts, to become one with that which is."
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