Harald Naegeli

One of the few original Naegeli spray works that are still around in Zürich but a lot of sprayings that are said to be by Naegeli are not authentic

NAEGELI from 1984, showing him at Lörrach in the company of JOSEPH BEUYS when he turned himself in to the Swiss police.

Last Friday (on December 4, 2009) Swiss artist HARALD NAEGELI has turned seventy with a rumor: THE Sprayer of Zürich is back in town. You are never too old to spray!

The first sprayed figures of HARALD NAEGELI (1939) appeared in Zurich in 1977 and made him known as The Sprayer of Zurich. Between 1977 and 1979 he drew 600 bis 900 characters using black spray-paint on Zürichs Walls.

The figures provoked a heated controversy in the city. Intellectuals and artists recognized the artistic value of NAEGELI‘s works early on, but the general public and the Swiss authorities saw it only as an illegal and malicious defacement of property. He himself later said that he saw himself as a political artist and his graffiti were a political statement against the increasing anonymity in the city

The authorities issued an arrest warrant for him, but he was apprehended only in June 1979. He evaded the trial by fleeing to Germany, yet was sentenced in absentia to nine months in jail and a fine of CHF 206,000. Since HARALD NAEGELI had left the country, the authorities of Zürich issued an international arrest warrant for him. 72 Swiss artists signed a petition demanding that this arrest warrant be retracted, to no avail. On April 29, 1984, he turned himself in to the Swiss police at the border crossing in Lörrach and subsequently served his jail sentence. Once released, he returned in Germany.

Back in Düsseldorf he worked again with focus on his wireframe graffiti but also on paintings, graphic works and political engagement like his fight against animal experiments.


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