Hans Scherfig was a Danish artist, writer, and communist who was born on February 8, 1905, in Østerbro, Copenhagen, and died on January 28, 1979. He is known for his animal paintings, which are used to teach children to count, as well as his literary works, including the classic novel "The Neglected Spring." Scherfig grew up in a solid middle-class home with conservative values, and his father was the director of one of Copenhagen's largest printing houses.
After completing his education at the Metropolitan School, Scherfig began studying zoology and Danish at the University of Copenhagen. However, he abandoned his studies in favor of painting, and for almost 15 years, he worked on a project about dragonflies, which he never completed. Scherfig's most important work, according to himself, was this unfinished project.
In 1929, Scherfig traveled to New York to visit the Austrian communist and artist Elisabeth Karlinsky, whom he had met four years earlier in Austria. Scherfig stayed in New York for seven months, where he was further confirmed in his communist outlook on life and his opposition to capitalism. He joined the Danish Communist Party (DKP) a few years later and remained a member until his death. Scherfig married Karlinsky in 1931, and they had three children together.
Scherfig suffered from a serious eye disease that would eventually cause blindness. In the 1930s, he had to use a magnifying glass to see even a little, but in the 1940s, he had eye surgery that enabled him to work with strong glasses. Scherfig and Karlinsky lived in central Copenhagen for the first five years of their marriage, but they moved to North Zealand in 1936. They lived at Tibirke Gamle Skole for a few years and then moved to a farmhouse in Såne near Tikøb. In 1955, they moved to a three-family farmhouse on Asminderød Mark.
Hans Scherfig died of a blood clot on January 28, 1979. Despite his reputation as a writer, artist, and communist, he was also known for his quirky sense of humor and his love for practical jokes.