Robert Lettner

1943 Elne, France - 2012 Vienna

Robert Lettner was an Austrian painter. In his art he dealt with themes like utopia and resistance as well as with questions of digital art and ornamentation. Lettner grew up in the Camp de Gurs internment and deportation camp in France and came to Vienna in 1953 via stations in Paris and Salzburg. After an apprenticeship as a lithographer (1958-1962), he studied painting with Franz Elsner at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts (1964-1969). At the end of the 1960s Lettner took part in several exhibitions, became a member of the Vienna Secession and in 1970 went on a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art in London. In the 1970s Lettner showed a series of exhibitions with political content at the “Galerie nächst St. Stephan” in Vienna. In 1976, Oswald Oberhuber brought Lettner to the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where he headed the department of graphic reprography from 1985 to 2008. Starting in 1998, Lettner developed techniques of digital art (from 2004 together with Philipp Stadler). In exchange with science (mathematics, philosophy), he advanced the experimental development of the image in digital space. Today he is considered one of the pioneers of artistic research. Lettner's oeuvre spans the period from 1965 to 2012 and consists of watercolours and ink drawings as well as paintings created both analogous and digitally. Robert Lettner's oeuvre received a significant posthumous tribute with the presentation of a selection of his works as part of the opening exhibition "The Beginning" at the Albertina Modern in 2020.


Harald Kraemer: "Robert Lettner. Das Spiel vom Kommen und Gehen. Widerstand Utopie Landschaft Ornament", Margit Lettner, Markus Lettner, Peter Menasse (Edit.), Klagenfurt, 2018