Maria Lassnig, 1919-2014



Painter Maria Lassnig has died in Vienna at age 94. A representative of Hauser & Wirth gallery in New York has confirmed her passing.

Writing in A.i.A. in 2009 on the occasion of Lassnig’s first American museum solo show, artist Carrie Moyer observed that Lassnig had created “some of the most darkly perceptive imagery of the past century.” She was known especially for unflinching nude self-portraiture.

Born in 1919 in Carinthia, in southern Austria, Lassnig studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Traveling to Paris on a scholarship in 1951, she met the Surrealists André Breton and Benjamin Péret, and befriended the poet Paul Celan. She lived in Paris from 1961 to ’68, after which she moved to New York City, where she stayed for a decade. In 1980 she became the chair of Vienna’s Academy of the Applied Arts, serving until 1997.

Lassnig shared the 55th Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement with the Italian artist Marisa Merz.

The artist is the subject of an exhibition at New York’s MoMA PS1 (through May 25).