Maria Lassnig (8 September 1919, Kappel am Krappfeld, Carinthia – 6 May 2014 in Vienna) was a painter and media artist.
She has already received drawing lessons between 6 and 10 years of age. She was considered a special talent and was promoted by her mother.
In 1941, she was accepted at the Academy of Fine Arts and studied first under the master class of Wilhelm Dachauer, who allegedly classed her works as “degenerate”.
In 1943 she changed to the class of Ferdinand Andri and studied there until 1945.
In 1948, she had her first solo exhibition, on which she showed “body awareness inscriptions” and small surreal figure compositions.
A Paris scholarship in the same year and a further stay in 1952 brought her into contact with André Breton, Benjamin Péret, Gisèle and Paul Celan.
It was not until 1954 that she returned to the Academy of Fine Arts and completed her academic education in the class Albert Paris Gütersloh.
Between 1961 and 1968 she lived mainly in Paris and painted first body consciousness watercolors.
In 1964, her mother died, her death always appearing in her pictures. Depression and a liver pain were a strain on her.
In 1968 she moved to a studio in East Village, New York, where her work was rejected as “strange” and “morbid”.
A DAAD scholarship brought her to Berlin in 1978.
1980 she returned to Vienna and took a professorship for painting at the Academy of Applied Arts.
Her means are classical painting, a figuration without a simple realistic representation – Lassnig paints the subject, not the object. Thus, self-portraits, enriched with surreal elements, create a peculiar and very specific hovering between closeness and strangeness.