Artists / Gallery

Lassnig Maria

Kappel am Krappfeld *1919 - †2014 Vienna

As a pioneer of body awareness images, the painter and media artist Maria Lassnig is one of the most important representatives of the European avant-garde. Lassnig understood how to depict the fragility of the human being. Her expressive, emotional paintings present a radical female view of the body and her own self.

Born in 1919 in Kappel am Krappfeld, Carinthia, Maria Lassnig was accepted into Wilhelm Dachauer's master class at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1941. However, she completed her studies with Ferdinand Andri and Herbert Boeckl. Her first solo exhibition followed in 1948 in Klagenfurt, where, after surrealistic beginnings, her first body-consciousness works were shown. In 1951 she moved to Vienna, where she was formative for the newly emerging Informel in Austria, because together with Wolfgang Hollegha, Josef Mikl, Markus Prachensky and Arnulf Rainer she belonged to the circle around Monsignore Otto Mauer, a clergyman interested in art and founder of the Galerie nächst St. Stephan. During stays in Paris, she met the poet Paul Celan and the surrealist Andre Breton and was influenced by the "ecriture automatique" and Tachism. In 1968 she moved to New York, where she not only worked with painting but also with cartoons.

In 1980 she returned to Vienna, where she became professor of painting at the University of Applied Arts. In the same year she represented her home country - together with Valie Export - at the Venice Biennale. Invitations to the Documenta in Kassel followed in 1982 and 1997. In 1988 Lassnig was the first female visual artist to receive the Grand Austrian State Prize. In 2013 Lassnig was honoured with the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale for her life's work.