Maria Lassnig: The Biography

Maria Lassnig: The Biography
Maria Lassnig: The Biography
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Hauser & Wirth Publishers presents the first full-length biography of Maria Lassnig in English, co-published with the Maria Lassnig Foundation and Petzel Gallery.

Cindy Sherman says ‘The more I learn about Maria Lassing, the more I want to know and this book is a comprehensive road map of the fascinating life of a trailblazing painter who was astoundingly overlooked for most of her life. I’m ashamed I only heard of her within the past 10 years even though she lived in Soho around the same time I did. While I would’ve loved to have met her, I think she would have terrified me, she sounds so fierce.’

Cover: Maria Lassnig, March 2002. Photo: Bettina Flitner, Keystone / LAIF / Bettina Flitner
Cover: Maria Lassnig, March 2002.
Photo: Bettina Flitner, Keystone / LAIF / Bettina Flitner

Natalie Lettner’s extensively researched and highly acclaimed biography ‘Maria Lassnig: The Biography’, now in print for the first time in English, chronicles Maria Lassnig’s journey and struggles in remaining true to her bold, singular artistic vision while fighting gender stereotypes and paving the way for future generations of artists.

This publication documents Maria Lassnig’s (1919 – 2014) boundary-breaking journey as an artist, spanning nine decades from her beginnings in Austria to her move to Paris during the 1960s, her time in New York from 1968 until 1980, her return to Austria later in life and her status as an internationally renowned artist.

Maria Lassnig: The Biography - 'Drei Grazien (Three Graces)', 2011 © Maria Lassnig Foundation
‘Drei Grazien (Three Graces)’, 2011 © Maria Lassnig Foundation. Courtesy Capitain Petzel, Berlin. Photo: Jens Ziehe

The artist’s story is at once exemplary and extraordinary for a woman of her generation. Exemplary in terms of the hurdles and pitfalls that women in general, and female artists in particular, had to face in those years. She struggled with gender stereotypes about the perceived role of women all her life, such as the pressure to get married as a woman, having to put her own needs aside to nurture and care for a partner, as well as playing the ‘mother figure’. Despite it all, Lassnig was able to assert herself as an artist due to her outstanding talent, her persistence, and her single-mindedness – an extraordinary story that is an inspiration to this day.

Translated from Brandstätter’s German edition of Natalie Lettner’s publication, this expansive biography features more than two hundred images, 70 of which are exclusive to the English translation, that animate Lassnig’s remarkable story and lifelong artistic output.

Maria Lassnig: The Biography -Maria Lassnig in her Avenue B studio, New York, ca. 1969
Maria Lassnig in her Avenue B studio, New York, ca. 1969. Image from the Archive of the Maria Lassnig Foundation.
Photo: Maria Lassnig

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director Serpentine Galleries, London, says ‘Maria Lassnig is one of the most important artists of the second half of the 20th century. ‘Maria Lassnig: The Biography’ evinces Lassnig’s sensibility and attentiveness to her surroundings. ‘Without art one wilts, and me in particular’ – with these words Lassnig so eloquently and concisely described herself and the fundamental role art had in her life. Lassnig’s dedication, persistence, uncompromising honesty and powerful practice are unprecedented and this biography shows precisely that. Lassnig’s journey is a journey without compromise.’

James Quandt, author and journalist, says ‘A most important biography, prodigiously researched, fluently translated, exhibiting both profound insight into Lassnig’s art and life and an invigorating refusal of accepted opinion.’

Maria Lassnig: The Biography Releases on the 13th October 2022

Written by Natalie Lettner, translated by Jeff Crowder
​Book design by Capitale Wien
​Published by Hauser & Wirth Publishers, Maria Lassnig Foundation, Petzel Gallery English, Flexicover with flaps
​400 pages, 215 illustrations, 170 x 240 mm
​£26 / $35 / €28 / CHF30 / HKD280

©2022 Maria Lassnig, Jens Ziehe, Bettina Flitner, Hauser & Wirth Publishers