Painter, commercial artist, draughtswoman, animated cartoon designer, motion picture artist and art educator
Born in 1919 in Kappel am Krappfeld, in Carinthia, Austria, Maria Lassnig began studying at Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1941 and graduated in 1943. From 1945 on she worked in her atelier in Klagenfurt on figuration with Surrealist borrowings. Three years later she met Arnulf Rainer there, and in 1951 she moved back to Vienna. In that same year a stipend made it possible for her and Rainer to visit Paris, where she made contact with the Surrealist André Breton and others. Back in Vienna’s avant-garde artists’ circles she and Arnulf Rainer were considered the founders of Art Informel in Austria. She produced picture series like her Introversive Figurations, focusing expressly on the theme of body-consciousness, for which she found countless new expressive forms in “emotional colours”. In 1968 she moved to the United States. In New York she worked in a considerably more realistic style, also in silkscreen, and made her first animated films. In 1980 she was asked to teach at Vienna’s applied arts school, the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst, and returned to Austria. Lassnig exhibited her work at documenta on two occasions, and with VALIE EXPORT represented Austria at the 39th Venice Biennale. She died in Vienna in 2014.