Graphic arts

Lassnig Maria

Kappel am Krappfeld *1919 - †2014 Vienna


The painter and media artist was a pioneer of Body Awareness Art and therefore one of the most important representatives of European Avantgarde. Lassnig knew how to depict human fragility. Her expressive and emotional paintings represent a radical female view of the body and the self.

Lassnig was born 1919 in Kappel am Krappfeld in Carinthia. 1941 she was accepted for the master class of Wilhelm Dachauer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She completed her studies with Ferdinand Andri and Herbert Boeckl. Her first solo exhibition was 1948 in Klagenfurt, where she presented her new Body Awareness Art after her surrealistic beginnings. 1951 she moved to Vienna where she became an important influence for the Austrian Informel. Together with Wolfgang Hollegha, Josef Mikl, Markus Prachensky and Arnuf Rainer she belonged to the artist group surrounding Monsignore Otto Mauer, an art enthusiast and cleric who was the founder of the Galerie Nächst St. Stephan. During her stays in Paris she met the poet Paul Celan and the Surrealist Andre Breton. She was influenced by "ecriture automatique" and Tachism. 1968 she moved to New York, where she did not only paint but also focused on cartoon films.

1980 she went back to Vienna where she became a professor at the University for Applied Arts. In this year she also represented – together with Valie Export – her home country at the Venice Biennale. 1982 and 1997 she was invited to Documenta in Kassel. She was the first visual artist who received the “Große Österreichische Staatspreis”/Great Austrian State Prize. 2013 Lassnig was honoured with the “Goldene Löwe”/Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale for her life’s work.