Hans Grass was born on September 12, 1933 in Basel, from a German mother and a Swiss father. He grew up in Rheinfelden, a small town bordering Switzerland. He received his secondary education at the Institute of Säckingen, the only one that existed at that time in the region.
From 1950-1957 he visited the School of Art and Design in Basel, where he specialized preferably in sculpture and painting. At the same time he began to write poetry, always philosophical in nature. Moreover, at that time began to study yoga with a Vedantist teacher, Heinrich Jürgens, in the Black Forest, near Säckingen.
Because of his fundamentally humanistic concern, the portrait as a form of encounter with the portrayed person’s psyche fascinated him from an early age, and therefore human beings occupy a central place in his work.
Other topics he worked on were the still life and landscape. In his early paintings he shows the mountains of the Black Forest, landscape of his youth, but later, in 1960, during his stay in Lake Como, Italy, he found that he was more attracted to the colour intensity of the south with its open landscapes.
His next stop was La Camarque, in southern France. From there he moved more to the south, to Formentera, where he lived from 1965 until his death. Here he produced most of his work, fascinated by the colours of the landscape and the sky – which he reproduced in numerous watercolours – and by the people who live there.
During all these years, every winter he returned to Germany for Carnival: for 37 years he was in charge of making large murals to celebrate this feast on the island Mainau in Lake Constance, owned by the late Count Bernadotte, the uncle of the present king of Sweden.
There he died of a heart attack on the 3rd of February, 1998, when he was giving the finishing touches to that year’s murals.