Maria Lassnig

  • Born 1919 in Kappel am Krappfeld (Carinthia), Austria
  • Died 2014 in Vienna, Austria

Maria Lassnig was the first woman to win the Grand Austrian State Prize in 1988. She began to study art at the Akademie der Schönen Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Vienna in 1941, first under Wilhelm Dachauer (1881–1951), who allegedly declared her art “degenerate,” then studied under Ferdinand Andri (1871–1956) and Herbert Boeckl (1894–1966). Late in the 1950s, Lassnig described her primarily artistic concern as “body awareness.” Freed from the constraints of realistic rendering, she considered her inner sensations and needs of her body as the most urgent reality, which she depicted through paintings of deformed bodies in meaningful colors. After living in Paris from 1961 to 1968, Lassnig moved to New York. She attended an animated film course at the School of Visual Arts, which led to several noted films, including Selbstportrait (Self-portrait, 1971). In 1980 she was appointed professor at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst (Academy of Applied Arts), Vienna, and later established an animated film studio in her master class. Lassnig represented Austria at the Venice Biennale in 1980 and took part in Documenta, Kassel (1982). At the Venice Biennale in 2013 she received the Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement in the arts.

Artworks by Maria Lassnig in the exhibition