FondsGoetheanum: Social Therapy and Curative Education

Hans Erni “I am impressed by the artistic overall approach.”

Our son spent his whole school life in an anthroposophical home and special school, the Sonnenhof at Arlesheim, where he was educated in a completely supportive environment. For more than 30 years, he has lived in Humanus House, in Beitenwill, an anthroposophical working and living community. I am very impressed by the holistic approach, the respect for people with special needs, and the use of art in daily life.

Hans Erni, painter and sculptor

Frölichi Böim

Caspar David : “Die warde guet cho.”

Meeting with Caspar David Erismann – Painter with people with special needs

What is the role of art? Daily bread or a treat at festivals? At the Olaf Asteson Home for people with special needs, between Longenberg and Schwarzwasser, above Berne, art is at the foundation of all they do. It is used every day, because it contributes to the inner development of those who live there, both those who are being cared for and those who care for them.

The director, Andreas Schmitter, is always amazed by the special openness – indeed, transparency – of the pensioners in regard to the artistic element. He rinses the colour pots and brushes with which Caspar David Erismann, 26 years old, is just finishing his painting. He has worked with much enthusiasm and with the certainty of a sleepwalker. Yes, he is a painter. “It’s my job, so to speak,” he says, noting the title on his painting ‘Frölichi Böim: At Christmas’. He is proud when he finishes his picture – “I made some progress” – and can’t wait to start again : “I do what comes to me.” His pastels and oils sell well in exhibitions: “I like exhibitions. I greet people, I discuss, I ask questions.” He works with joy and with the next exhibition in mind: “I can’t wait!”

Caspar has painted since he was 10 years old. His preferred colour is green: “all the greens – light, dark, medium.” One wall in his room is painted dark green. Little by little, with attentive accompaniment, he has learned to use other colours – red, yellow, blue. One of his paintings, in yellow-red, hangs in the corridor, entitled ‘Farbangu’. His ‘Tonengu’, a horse with a trumpet, is already sold. Caspar appreciates artistic activities: “I paint, I draw, I write; I am developing myself through art.” And he also knows that with his art he gives something to others. Caspar’s paintings are fields of forces, veritable batteries, dispensers of energy. “I know”, he says. Plunging his brush in royal blue, he signs “Caspar Dafit”.