Austrian symbolist painter, Gustav Klimt, was one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. His primary subject was the female body, and he produced numerous paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. He was known for his deliberate painting style. He successfully avoided personal scandal despite having an active sex life.
Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter whose work is well-known for its raw sexuality and intensity. An early exponent of Expressionism, Schiele was one of the early-20th century's most prominent figurative painters. His life and career inspired the 1980 biographical film Excess and Punishment, in which Schiele was played by German actor Mathieu Carrière.
Austrian visual artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser is remembered for his imagination, his love for bold colors and uneven forms, and his dislike for “straight lines.” He and his Jewish mother escaped the Nazis by posing as Christians. His architectural projects are focused on environment-friendly buildings, such as the Hundertwasserhaus apartment block.
Best known for her iconic book Born Free, which describes her experiences of raising a lion cub named Elsa, Joy Adamson was a noted Austro-Hungarian wildlife conservationist. She excelled in music and medicine in her younger days and later settled in Kenya with her third husband, conservationist George Adamson.
Austrian artist, playwright, poet and teacher Oskar Kokoschka CBE is counted among the prominent exponents of Expressionism whose works influenced the Viennese Expressionist movement. Notable works of Kokoschka include paintings like The Bride of the Wind and Portrait of Lotte Franzos and writings like the short play Murderer, the Hope of Women and the play Orpheus und Eurydike.
Born in Austria, contemporary visual artist Gottfried Helnwein later bought a castle in Cologne, where he worked, and then moved to Ireland, where he bought another castle and transformed it into his studio. His hyper-realistic performance art and installations, known as Aktions, reflect grim themes such as the Holocaust.
Born into an affluent Austro-Hungarian family, Richard Neutra later moved to the U.S. Best known for imparting the International Style in American architecture, he had previously worked on an award-winning project in Palestine. He created iconic buildings such as the Lovell House and also penned books such as Survival Through Design.
Austrian alternative singer Anja Plaschg, better known as Soap&Skin, played the violin and the piano as a teen. She later dropped out of her graphic designing and art courses, to focus on music. Apart from releasing a chartbusting debut album at 18, she has also worked as an actor.
Anna Mahler lost her composer father Gustav Mahler at age 7 and spent much of her childhood at the studio of her mother Alma's lover, artist Oskar Kokoschka. She grew up to be a Grand Prix-winning sculptor. Her works include bronze figures of musicians and the popular Female Nude.
Austrian printmaker, illustrator, and occasional writer Alfred Kubin is counted among the important representatives of Symbolism and Expressionism. He is noted for his inventive black-and-white drawings that included dreamlike, often morbid, subjects and portrayed supernatural creatures and sexual violence. He illustrated Der Orchideengarten magazine, and has also worked for the likes of E. T. A. Hoffmann and Edgar Allan Poe.
Biedermeier period Austrian painter Peter Fendi had sustained spine injuries as a baby after falling from a table. However, that didn’t deter his artistic zeal, and he grew up to master oil and watercolor painting and even experimented with wood carving and etching. The mother-and-child theme is predominant in his works.
Born in Zagreb, then in Austria-Hungary, artist and illustrator Franz von Bayros was part of the Decadent movement. His art featured erotic themes and showcased women having sex with animals and mythological figures. His work Tales from the Dressing Table, which depicted lesbianism, got him exiled from Germany.
Paintings, sculpture, and prints of Austrian painter, sculptor, poet, composer, singer, architect, draftsman, printmaker, and stage designer Ernst Fuchs addressed themes of religion and mysticism. Student of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, Fuchs co-founded the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. He acquired the Otto Wagner Villa in Hütteldorf, which was later transformed and inaugurated as the Ernst Fuchs Museum.
Austrian designer-turned-artist Helmut Lang is best known for his namesake fashion brand. While his minimalist fashion collections included clothes made of rubber and metal, he later sold off most of his company to Prada and eventually quit it to become a full-time artist. He now focuses solely on abstract art.
Contemporary Austrian artist Valie Export is best known for her photographs, sculpture, and films, which focus on themes such as the male gaze and the female body. Her work Action Pants: Genital Panic included a performance that had her sitting and walking around wearing pants without a crotch.
Hailed for his contribution to the experimental and multimedia modes, Hermann Nitsch is known to interpret life as a passion and the process of painting, its incarnation. Beginning his career as a graphic designer, he later combined Expressionism with religious arts and began working on the idea of the Orgien Mysterien Theater, eventually establishing himself as an internationally acclaimed artist.
Austrian artist Erwin Wurm is most noted for his humorous approach to the Formalism style and his strange depictions of daily life. The remarkable sculptures created by him using object like screws, nails, and almost anything prompts people to question the very definition of sculpture. His notable works include the Fat Car series and the ongoing One Minute Sculptures.
Best known for her abstract stainless steel and stone sculptures and artwork, Gabriela von Habsburg is the granddaughter of former Austrian emperor Charles I. She was raised in exile and later taught as an art professor. She owns a vineyard in Georgia and has also been Georgia’s ambassador to Germany.
Austrian-born British studio potter Lucie Rie, DBE, is most noted for her bowl and bottle forms and for developing very inventive kiln processing that influenced many young British ceramists. Her pottery finds place in collections across the globe, including in the Museum of Modern Art, the Paisley Museum, the York Art Gallery and the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Austrian painter Hans Makart is best known for his colorful historical paintings. He also founded the Makartstil or Makart style of decorating public spaces. He designed furniture and clothes, too. His lack of factual accuracy and his reliance on female nudity were both despised by academics.
German-Austrian Franz Xaver Messerschmidt was a court sculptor in Vienna but was later forced to move to Pressburg, now Bratislava, where he worked on a series of over 60 heads, made of either tin alloy or alabaster. The heads have peculiar expressions, but their meaning hasn’t yet been unearthed.
Viennese artist Peter Johann Nepomuk Geiger, who served as Professor of the Viennese Academy of Art, is noted for his erotic drawings, illustrations of historical works and poetry, and oil paintings for the Austrian Royal Family. His notable works include illustration of Anton Ziegler's Vaterländischen Immortellen, and illustrations of William Shakespeare, Goethe and Friedrich Schiller for the Royal Family.
Born in Austria, to a merchant father who loved collecting paintings, Wolfgang Paalen had been exposed to arts since childhood. He later trained in painting and archaeology and joined the Surrealist movement. His signature fumage technique involved creating art with the smoke and soot from candles. He later settled in Mexico.
Christoph Haizmann was the Austrian painter who had sold his soul to the Devil to attain artistic fame and was later exorcized. He had also painted several pictures of the Devil as it appeared to him. The Haizmann case was later studied by many psychiatrists and psychologists, such as Sigmund Freud.
One of the most important Austrian painters of the Biedermeier period, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller is best known for his landscape paintings, which he drew from close observation, highlighting not only his unique sense of color, but also his deep knowledge of nature. Equally known are his portraits, genre scenes, and still lifes, which are appreciated for their detailed descriptions and accurate characterizations.
Eighteenth-century actor and painter Joseph Lange is also remembered as legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s brother-in-law. Mozart, who had married Lange’s wife Aloysia Weber’s sister, appeared in an iconic portrait painted by Lange, which was later affixed to an unfinished artwork. Lange also appeared in Mozart’s operas.
Austrian academic and fantasy-painter Hans Zatzka is noted for his paintings of fairies, women, and fantastical scenes, besides his religious paintings and altar pieces that are dedicated to different churches in Austria. He often signed his works using different pseudonyms like Joseph Bernard so as to avoid penalties of breaking contracts which restricted the number of works he could sell.
Maria Lassnig was the first female winner of the Grand Austrian State Prize. She was born out of wedlock and was mostly raised by her grandmother. Part of the Dog Pack group of abstract expressionists, she mostly created self-portraits in shades of green and magenta and explored “body awareness.”
Painter, printmaker, singer-songwriter, dancer, poet, academic teacher, architect and stage designer Arik Brauer was reputed as a Universalkünstler (all-round artist) in Austria. He featured as a singer-songwriter at the start of Austropop, co-founded the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. His art was exhibited at many galleries and museums across the globe.
One of the first to introduce Renaissance elements in Germany, Michael Pacher was a renowned Gothic painter and wood carver. Best known for works such as St. Wolfgang Altarpiece, he was a master of painting frescoes and carving altar centerpieces. His later masterpieces include Betrothal of the Virgin.
Austrian artist Franz West is noted for creating unconventional objects and sculptures, furniture work and installations using ordinary materials like wire, aluminium, polyester, papier-mâché and plaster. Over the years, his creations have been displayed in different museums and galleries and in expositions like Documenta and the Venice Biennale. One of his notable works is The Ego and the Id.
Austrian landscape and architectural painter Rudolf Ritter von Alt is best remembered for his realistic and detailed style architectural and landscape paintings. He created several works, including town views, landscapes and building interiors for the Vienna Academy, but refused a professorship there. Notable works of Alt include View of Stephansdom, from the Stock-im-Eisen (1832); and Portrait of a lady (1838).
Austrian painter Johann Nepomuk della Croce, a protégé of Austrian painter Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni, painted five thousand portraits and two hundred historical pictures, as estimated by Felix Joseph von Lipowsky. These include making a self-portrait in 1762 and a Mozart family portrait in 1780. della Croce’s son Clemens de La Croce followed his footsteps to become a painter.
Austrian painter of Neoclassicism Joseph Anton Koch, who was later influenced by the German Romantic movement, is probably the most noteworthy neoclassical landscape painter. Some of his notable works include Landscape with Abraham and the Three Angels in the Valley of Mambre, Waterfalls at Subiaco, Landscape with Bileam, and the four frescoes in the Dante Room of the Villa Massimi.
Born in Austria, Moritz von Schwind led a bohemian life for much of his youth. The famed painter later moved to Germany, where he taught at the Munich Academy. His art reflected Romanticism, and his subjects were often casual honeymooning couples. He also painted the glass windows of the Glasgow Cathedral.
Johannes Grenzfurthner is best known as the man behind monochrome, an alternative art magazine. The Austria artist and filmmaker often deals with topics such as subversion and nerd culture in his documentary-style films. A pioneer of techno-hedonism, he also heads festivals such as Arse Elektronika, which mingles sex and technology.
Austrian portrait painter Friedrich von Amerling was a favorite of the Viennese aristocrats. The court painter of Austro-Hungarian king Franz Josef, he was known for his skilled use of colors. He was well-traveled and had been married four times. He had managed to acquire the Gumpendorf Castle, too.
Walter Pichler was an Austrian sculptor, architect, designer, and artist. Best remembered for creating installations and objects designed for utopian city models, Walter Pichler came up with visionary architectural ideas. Along with Hollein, Pichler worked towards founding a new school of architecture aimed at liberating art from the constraints of conventional methods.