Arnulf Rainer

1929 Baden near Vienna

Arnulf Rainer, born in 1929 in Baden, is the founder of Art Informel in Austria. Arnulf Rainer attended the vocational school (building and architecture) in Villach in 1947.

After Rainer left the Villach vocational school in 1949, he applied to the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts and then the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna but left both after just one day.

In 1950 he founded his own group called the ‘Hundsgruppe’ (Dog Pack) along with Ernst Fuchs, Anton Lehmden, Arik Brauer, Wolfgang Hollegha and Josef Mikl. After renunciation of fantastic surrealism in 1951, he started overpainting pictures in 1954. In 1955 the group „St. Stephan“ was formed, together with Josef Mikl, Wolfgang Hollegha, Markus Prachensky. On 17 September 1959, Arnulf Rainer, together with Ernst Fuchs and Friedensreich Hundertwasser, founded the ‘Pintorarium’, as a ‘crematorium for the incineration of the Academy’. The Pintorarium remained in existence until 1968. In 1971 the first large retrospective was held in the Kunstverein Hamburg thereafter he took part at the Biennale in Sâo Paulo and in 1972 at the documenta V in Kassel. In 1978 he represented Austria at the Biennale in Venice and was awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize in the same year. He also started to work on ‘gestural hand paintings’ and later on ‘finger and foot paintings’. In 1981 Arnulf Rainer became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and became a fellow of the Berlin Academy of Arts. Several large retrospectives show Arnulf Rainer's growing international importance, including 1984 at the Musée National d’Art moderne /Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, 1989 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. In September 2009, the Arnulf Rainer Museum in Frauenbad in Baden near Vienna opened.