H. R. Giger - Sculptors, Family and Personal Life

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H. R. Giger's Personal Details

The famous designer of science fiction movie ‘Alien’, H

InformationDetail
BirthdayFebruary 5, 1940
Died onMay 12, 2014
NationalitySwiss
FamousArtists & Painters, Artists, Sculptors, Musicians, Miscellaneous
SpousesCarmen Maria Scheifele Giger, Li Tobler, Mia Bonzanigo
SiblingsIris Giger
Known asHans Ruedi Giger
Cause of deathAccident
Birth PlaceChur
GenderMale
FatherHans Richard Giger
MotherMelly Giger-Meier
Sun SignAquarius
Born inChur
Famous asPainter
Died at Age74

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H. R. Giger's photo

Who is H. R. Giger?

H.R. Giger, one of the preeminent artists of Fantastic Realism, was a Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer known for his biomechanical creatures, extraterrestrial landscapes and disturbing, though memorable, imagery of grotesque sensuality. Enticed with the bug of creativity from an early age Giger went on to graduate with a degree in Interior and Industrial Design. Though his creations were surrealist and nightmarish, the sculptor himself was a warm and generous soul. Giger remained committed to his craft till the very end and was fondly remembered by his family, friends and acquaintances in the world of art and music. His name became synonymous with the science fiction movie ‘Alien’ in which he created the designs for the otherworldly creature. The movie changed the scenario of science fiction genre. Apparently Giger’s nightmares, which he used to scribble in his artist pad, were the source of inspiration for the design of ‘Alien’. In a career that spanned more than five decades, his designs graced museums walls, posters, books, album covers, furniture, entire buildings, several movie sets and more. But this generous and humble artist avoided the limelight and rather let his work speak volumes of his mastery. To know more about the life and works of the famous artist, sculptor and set-designer read on.

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Childhood & Early Life

Hans Rudolf "Ruedi" Giger, eventually known as H.R., was born Feb. 5, 1940, in Chur, Graubünden, Switzerland, as the second child to Melly Giger-Meier and Hans Richard Giger.

He and his sister, Iris, who was seven years his senior, were treated kindly by their parents. The family lived in a modest, somewhat dingy apartment above the pharmacy where his father, a chemist, worked.

His first exposure to the art world, pictures of Cocteau’s film, 'Beauty and the Beast', came in 1944 through magazines from American soldiers who, while recuperating from skiing injuries, rested in his home.

In 1946, he began school, first attending the ‘Catholic Marienheim’, but soon transferring to ‘Auntie Grittli’s Reform(ational) Kindergarten’.

He first encountered death when his father received a skull as a promotional gift, which Giger immediately claimed as his plaything.

After graduating from high school in 1958, he obtained a certificate in drawing, followed by a couple of years of practical training from an architect and developer as well as completion of military college as a mortar gunman.

From 1962 to 1965, he attended the ‘School of Applied Arts’, Zurich, graduating from the ‘Department of Interior and Industrial Design’.

Career

Giger worked full-time as an office furniture designer for Andreas Christen from 1966 until 1968, producing some ink drawings, oil paintings and his first polyester sculptures in his spare time.

In 1968, he quit his job to devote all of his time to creating art, including a commission to create movie props, which included designing his first extraterrestrial being.

Switzerland's first poster printing company printed, with world-wide distribution, his first collection of posters in 1969, the same year of the first exhibitions of his work outside of Zurich.

Rock band ‘Emerson, Lake and Palmer’ commissioned him to create the cover of the 1973 album 'Brain Salad Surgery’.

In the 1970s, he began using an airbrush, becoming known as the world's leading airbrush artist, and developed his signature style of meticulously rendered, otherworldly visions of the macabre, depicted in murky grays and blacks.

Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky commissioned Giger in 1976 to collaborate as part of an all-star production team on the legendary unmade film, 'Dune,' for which he designed the sci-fi world of ‘The Harkonnen’.

After viewing Giger's images published in 1977's 'Necronomicon', director Ridley Scott hired him for the production of the science fiction film, 'Alien'. The elaborate costume of the ‘Xenomorph’ creature in the movie included Rolls-Royce parts, rib bones and reptile vertebrae.

His first design of a total environment, the ‘Giger Bar’ in Tokyo opened in 1988, but, disappointed in its execution, he personally supervised the interior design and opening of a second bar in Chur four years later.

The official Giger Internet site, www.HRGiger.com, went online on March 19, 1996, with more than 200,000 visitors from over 100 countries in the first year.

The four-story ‘H.R. Giger Museum’ opened in June 1998, in the Chateau St. Germain, in the medieval walled city of Gruyères, Switzerland, housing the world's largest collection of his artwork.

April 12, 2003, witnessed the official opening of the ‘H.R. Giger Museum Bar’, a 400-year-old space transformed by Giger's characteristically grotesque but somehow beautiful designs.

Beginning in 2004, major museums around the world honored him with a series of retrospectives of his works.

He worked up to his death, leaving an unknown quantity of unfinished and unreleased projects.

Major Works

The most well-known collection of his work, 1977's book, 'Necronomicon,' included the lithograph of a biomechanoid, 'Necronom IV,' which grabbed the attention of Ridley Scott and became the basis for the Xenomorph creature in 'Alien.'

The designs created for the title creature, all stages of its lifecycle, spacecraft and extraterrestrial environments in the 1979 film 'Alien' not only catapulted Giger into fame but transformed the science fiction movie genre.

Awards & Achievements

Giger's along with the special effects team on 'Alien' were honored with an ‘Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects’, on April 14, 1980.

On Dec 17, 2004, Giger received the prestigious award, ‘La Médaille de la Ville de Paris’, at Paris City Hall.

He was inducted into the ‘Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame’ in 2013.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1975, his nine-year romance with actress and muse Li Tobler ended with her sudden suicide.

Married in 1979, Giger and first wife Mia Bonzanigo divorced only a year and a half later.

His second wife, Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, and he wed in 2006.

On May 12, 2014, after a brief hospitalization, Giger succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall down stairs in his Zurich home.

Trivia

After his first nightmare and the onset of night terrors in 1970, he began using painting as a form of therapy, sometimes referring to his art as "self-psychiatry".

This famous set designer was afraid of flying, and director Ridley Scott had to persuade him to take a flight to the ‘Shepperton Studios’ in London at the onset of 'Alien'.

The punk band Dead Kennedys' use of Giger's 'Landscape XX', also known as 'Penis Landscape', in the packaging of their 1985 album 'Frankenchrist' led to a trial for obscenity.

// Famous Miscellaneous

H. R. Giger awards

YearNameAward

Academy Awards(Oscars)

1980Best Effects, Visual EffectsAlien (1979)

H. R. Giger biography timelines

  • // 5th Feb 1940
    Hans Rudolf "Ruedi" Giger, eventually known as H.R., was born Feb. 5, 1940, in Chur, Graubünden, Switzerland, as the second child to Melly Giger-Meier and Hans Richard Giger.
  • // 1944
    His first exposure to the art world, pictures of Cocteau’s film, 'Beauty and the Beast', came in 1944 through magazines from American soldiers who, while recuperating from skiing injuries, rested in his home.
  • // 1946
    In 1946, he began school, first attending the ‘Catholic Marienheim’, but soon transferring to ‘Auntie Grittli’s Reform(ational) Kindergarten’.
  • // 1958
    After graduating from high school in 1958, he obtained a certificate in drawing, followed by a couple of years of practical training from an architect and developer as well as completion of military college as a mortar gunman.
  • // 1962 To 1965
    From 1962 to 1965, he attended the ‘School of Applied Arts’, Zurich, graduating from the ‘Department of Interior and Industrial Design’.
  • // 1966 To 1968
    Giger worked full-time as an office furniture designer for Andreas Christen from 1966 until 1968, producing some ink drawings, oil paintings and his first polyester sculptures in his spare time.
  • // 1968
    In 1968, he quit his job to devote all of his time to creating art, including a commission to create movie props, which included designing his first extraterrestrial being.
  • // 1969
    Switzerland's first poster printing company printed, with world-wide distribution, his first collection of posters in 1969, the same year of the first exhibitions of his work outside of Zurich.
  • // 1970
    After his first nightmare and the onset of night terrors in 1970, he began using painting as a form of therapy, sometimes referring to his art as "self-psychiatry".
  • // 1973
    Rock band ‘Emerson, Lake and Palmer’ commissioned him to create the cover of the 1973 album 'Brain Salad Surgery’.
  • // 1975
    In 1975, his nine-year romance with actress and muse Li Tobler ended with her sudden suicide.
  • // 1976
    Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky commissioned Giger in 1976 to collaborate as part of an all-star production team on the legendary unmade film, 'Dune,' for which he designed the sci-fi world of ‘The Harkonnen’.
  • // 1977
    After viewing Giger's images published in 1977's 'Necronomicon', director Ridley Scott hired him for the production of the science fiction film, 'Alien'. The elaborate costume of the ‘Xenomorph’ creature in the movie included Rolls-Royce parts, rib bones and reptile vertebrae.
  • // 1977
    The most well-known collection of his work, 1977's book, 'Necronomicon,' included the lithograph of a biomechanoid, 'Necronom IV,' which grabbed the attention of Ridley Scott and became the basis for the Xenomorph creature in 'Alien.'
  • // 1979
    The designs created for the title creature, all stages of its lifecycle, spacecraft and extraterrestrial environments in the 1979 film 'Alien' not only catapulted Giger into fame but transformed the science fiction movie genre.
  • // 1979
    Married in 1979, Giger and first wife Mia Bonzanigo divorced only a year and a half later.
  • // 14th Apr 1980
    Giger's along with the special effects team on 'Alien' were honored with an ‘Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects’, on April 14, 1980.
  • // 1985
    The punk band Dead Kennedys' use of Giger's 'Landscape XX', also known as 'Penis Landscape', in the packaging of their 1985 album 'Frankenchrist' led to a trial for obscenity.
  • // 1988
    His first design of a total environment, the ‘Giger Bar’ in Tokyo opened in 1988, but, disappointed in its execution, he personally supervised the interior design and opening of a second bar in Chur four years later.
  • // 19th Mar 1996
    The official Giger Internet site, www.HRGiger.com, went online on March 19, 1996, with more than 200,000 visitors from over 100 countries in the first year.
  • // Jun 1998
    The four-story ‘H.R. Giger Museum’ opened in June 1998, in the Chateau St. Germain, in the medieval walled city of Gruyères, Switzerland, housing the world's largest collection of his artwork.
  • // 12th Apr 2003
    April 12, 2003, witnessed the official opening of the ‘H.R. Giger Museum Bar’, a 400-year-old space transformed by Giger's characteristically grotesque but somehow beautiful designs.
  • // 2004
    Beginning in 2004, major museums around the world honored him with a series of retrospectives of his works.
  • // 17th Dec 2004
    On Dec 17, 2004, Giger received the prestigious award, ‘La Médaille de la Ville de Paris’, at Paris City Hall.
  • // 2006
    His second wife, Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, and he wed in 2006.
  • // 2013
    He was inducted into the ‘Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame’ in 2013.
  • // 12th May 2014
    On May 12, 2014, after a brief hospitalization, Giger succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall down stairs in his Zurich home.

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H. R. Giger's FAQ

  • What is H. R. Giger birthday?

    H. R. Giger was born at 1940-02-05

  • When was H. R. Giger died?

    H. R. Giger was died at 2014-05-12

  • Where was H. R. Giger died?

    H. R. Giger was died in Zürich

  • Which age was H. R. Giger died?

    H. R. Giger was died at age 74

  • Where is H. R. Giger's birth place?

    H. R. Giger was born in Chur

  • What is H. R. Giger nationalities?

    H. R. Giger's nationalities is Swiss

  • Who is H. R. Giger spouses?

    H. R. Giger's spouses is Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, Li Tobler, Mia Bonzanigo

  • Who is H. R. Giger siblings?

    H. R. Giger's siblings is Iris Giger

  • What is H. R. Giger's cause of dead?

    H. R. Giger dead because of Accident

  • Who is H. R. Giger's father?

    H. R. Giger's father is Hans Richard Giger

  • Who is H. R. Giger's mother?

    H. R. Giger's mother is Melly Giger-Meier

  • What is H. R. Giger's sun sign?

    H. R. Giger is Aquarius

  • How famous is H. R. Giger?

    H. R. Giger is famouse as Painter