(View Artwork by H. Kuckein)
Born near Koenigsberg (now Kaliningrad) on the Baltic, H. E. Kuckein displayed an early interest in drawing and began to paint at the age of 12. Although largely self-taught, he studied under the tutelage of F.W. Schulz, a compatriot of Paul von Kalkreuth and Montague Dawson, the foremost marine painters of their time. The association with Schulz influenced Kuckein’s work for a number of years and directed him to that kind of theme painting.
A chance visit to an exhibition of works by Nicolas de Stael in Paris in 1950 was to change his painting direction for the rest of his life, resulting in experimentation with abstraction and collage making.
As Kuckein says: “To me, de Stael’s bold unadorned colours and marvellous textures were overwhelming in their simplicity and I was enthralled with the prospect of becoming a professional painter, even in those early years.”
Kuckein is obviously consumed by his passion for painting. “Painting is both a joy and an obsession to me. It is my way of life and a dedication - it fills most of my waking hours and my daily pattern of life is structured around my mission to create paintings.” “All my work springs from the impression of a moment, from my travels, a memory from childhood or from the response to the immediate. It could be triggered by a recalled scent, the utter delight of wildflowers on a spring walk with my dogs, the sight of a heavy fog over the Ganges in the morning light or the sound of a sitar drifting through a village in India.”
“I try to put this on canvas and it is not always an easy process. What appeared successful yesterday becomes trite and too easy in the morning. So I push it to make it better and better, to try to pull something from it or I may end up destroying it altogether.“
The interplay of simplicity, strength of purpose and the slightly mysterious aura inherent in the work makes it instantly recognizable and makes Kuckein an important influence on the Canadian art scene.
He has travelled throughout the world gathering subject material for his canvases and his works are found in many private and corporate collections worldwide.