HC Artmann

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HC Artmann at the speech of thanks for the 1974 State Prize, Vienna Hofburg
H. C. Artmann around 1980 in Vomper Loch , photo by Gert Chesi

Hans Carl Artmann (born June 12, 1921 in Vienna - Breitensee ; † December 4, 2000 in Vienna) was an Austrian poet , writer and translator .


HC Artmann was the son of the shoemaker Johann Artmann and his wife Marie, née Schneider. He grew up in Vienna and attended elementary and secondary school there. He then worked as an office intern for three years, which meant he was confronted with language at an early age, and then began an apprenticeship as a shoemaker. In 1940 he was drafted into the Wehrmacht , fought in World War II and was wounded several times on the Eastern Front . He deserted twice. After the first attempt in 1942, he was sentenced to twelve years in prison and transferred to a punishment battalion of the Wehrmacht. During the fighting in Alsace in 1944 he was able to flee again and stayed in hiding in Vienna until the end of the war. In 1945 he became an American prisoner of war , where he worked as an interpreter and wrote his first texts.

The poet had been married to the writer Rosa Pock since 1972 and lived with her in Salzburg until 1995 before they moved to Vienna. There he died of heart failure on December 4, 2000 and was buried in the urn cemetery of the Simmering fire hall (section 1, ring 1, group 2, number 3). His grave is one of the honorary dedicated or honorary custody grave sites of the City of Vienna.

Memorial plaque in honor of H. C. Artmann on the house where he grew up, in Kienmayergasse 43 in Vienna-Penzing


Artmann lived in Vienna again after 1945 and from 1947 published his first literary texts on the radio and in the magazine Neue Wege . In 1951 he was a member of the "Art Club". From 1952 he worked with Gerhard Rühm , Konrad Bayer , Friedrich Achleitner and Oswald Wiener in the Vienna group , from which he distanced himself in 1958. During this collaboration, dramas and sound poems appeared which are characterized by the fact that they give up any claim to grammar and meaning. The year 1958 also saw his greatest public success - the volume of poetry med ana schwoazzn dintn , with which he helped the genre of the dialect poem to break through, although he viewed it as an experiment among many. In fact, the use of Viennese is not typical of all of his work. Artmann's novels, his poetry and his stories are characterized by a playful surrealism and a game of language influenced by Dadaism .

Artmann emerged as a theorist in 1953 with his "eight-point proclamation of the poetic act", which formulated "that one can be a poet without ever having written or spoken a word".

Artmann dealt with cultural and political grievances; in his manifesto published in 1955 he spoke, for example, of: B. against the reintroduction of the armed forces.

From 1954 Artmann traveled extensively through Europe, lived in Sweden from 1961 to 1965, then in Berlin until 1969 and from 1972 in Salzburg. During his travels in 1958 he met the Austrian authors Elias Canetti and Erich Fried. He promoted young writers and taught at the “School for Poetry in Vienna”. In 1973 he founded "Anti PEN". He was president and founding member of the Graz Authors' Assembly , from which he left in 1978. He has received numerous prizes and honors, including the Grand Austrian State Prize (1974), an honorary doctorate from the University of Salzburg (1991) and the Georg Büchner Prize (1997).

His works are only apparently popular in character. Traditions of European poetry from the baroque to the 20th century can be recognized in his works. He freed the dialect from nationalistic appropriation by publishing Austrian dialect experiments. In doing so, he showed how contemplative vernacular language can be, even if he distanced himself from it in later years and resorted to more subtle language games. Nevertheless, many authors took on his style, especially in German-speaking countries, he acted as a role model. He also integrated black humor into his dialect poetry. His work ranges from poetry to drama to baroque swans. Artmann also dealt with Spanish literature and ballads of the Middle Ages.

Artmann also worked as a translator, including from English for various writers such as HP Lovecraft or Cyril Tourneur . Translations from Dutch, Danish, French, Spanish and Swedish can also be found in his work. He presented a very free translation of François Villon's poems into Viennese, which was recorded on record by Helmut Qualtinger . In 1999 Da Legionäa Asterix was published , the translation of Asterix as a legionnaire into Viennese.

Artmann was a member of the Berlin Academy of the Arts , the Austrian Art Senate and a long-term sponsor of the Graz Authors' Assembly. He wrote screenplays for TV films and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Salzburg.

After his death, his estate was handed over to the Vienna City and State Library by the widow Rosa Artmann-Pock.

Colleagues about Artmann

“When the sun has set in poetry, then its moons rise: stars whose reflection is due to an invisible source of light; HC Artmann's poetry is such an indirect poetry of borrowed light, a poetry after its downfall. [...] Artmann's poetry was by no means late or even too late; On the contrary, it is one of the numerous contemporary testimonies to an experience that was highly effective in the modern era, indeed epoch-making since its beginnings: What could once be considered poetic, whether from the point of view of predetermined vocabularies, poetic techniques or processes, motifs or objects suitable for poetry, possessed for the poetry of the twentieth century is no longer automatically valid. "

“The work hcs is the collective salvation of poetry, the vastness of language extends into all possible worlds of the imagination. she creates these worlds for herself and tells of their diversity - the so-called reality exceeding its flashing possibilities. what freedom of writing, of invention, of bewitching is, I found in his work - the friendliest anarchism one can imagine. "

“He still has water-blue eyes, can write good stories, sits in the hotel lobby before his reading, sips camomile tea, is surrounded by awe-inspiring youngsters, drives a moped (mostly overland), doesn't want to notice the pain in the bones. has remained the youngest of all of us who started to rediscover the new poetry for ourselves and the world back in the distant 1950s. his proud art of fire may enchant without end. "

"For me it was an intuition, proof that the poet's existence is possible."

Awards and honors

Posthumous honors

Honorary grave in the urn grove of the Simmering fire hall

His grave of honor is in the urn grove of the Simmering fire hall (Department 1, Ring 1, Group 2, Number 3).

The City of Vienna bought Artmann's literary estate and in 2004 donated the HC Artmann Prize in his honor . Since 2008 the city of Salzburg has been awarding the HC Artmann scholarship together with the Literaturhaus Salzburg - located on HC-Artmann-Platz and equipped with the hccafé . On June 10, 2016, a memorial plaque in honor of HC Artmann was unveiled at the house at Kienmayergasse 43 in Breitensee.

Works (selection)

  • 1954: The boy with the brocade . Chamber opera. Music: Gerhard Lampersberg
  • 1958: med ana schwoazzn dintn. poem from bradnsee
  • 1959: hosn rosn baa (with Friedrich Achleitner and Gerhard Rühm )
  • 1959: From those hussars and other rope dancers
  • 1961: the love fairy pocahontas or kasper as a wildcat
  • 1964: looking for yesterday or snow on a hot bread roll
  • 1966: verbarium
  • 1966: Дракула Дракула - A Transylvanian Adventure - (with Uwe Bremer ), Rainer Verlag Berlin, Magica Verlag Meilen near Zurich
  • 1967: Dracula - translation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (under the pseudonym "Stasi Kull"), Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1967, "Biblioteca Dracula"
  • 1967: Embassy sealed in green
  • 1968: Frankenstein in Sussex, hard work and industry
  • 1968: Baladn (after François Villon), Insel-Bücherei 883
  • 1969: My inheritance from father and mother
  • 1969: The first letters of the flag
  • 1969: a lily-white letter from lincolnshire. poems from 21 years
  • 1970: The Best of HC Artmann
  • 1970: The grammar of roses. Collected prose
  • 1971: How much, sweetheart?
  • 1972: The aeronautical Sindtbart or Strange Air Voyage from Lower California to Crain
  • 1972: The totem lost in the forest
  • 1974: Under the cover of a hat
  • 1975: From my botanical drum
  • 1978: News from North and South
  • 1979: The Wanderer
  • 1982: The sun was a green egg
  • 1984: Night Windseeker - Sixty-one Austrian Haiku
  • 1991: Hans-Christoph Stenzel's POEtarium
  • 1991: erotika. Drawings and texts about Casanova. Disegni e testi su Casanova (with Markus Vallazza )
  • 1993: The Key to Paradise: Religious Poetry of the Celts
  • 1993: The poetic work
  • 1995: poetry as a task. Working with my students. Published by HC Artmann. Passagen Verlag , Vienna
  • 2001: I am an adventurer and not a poet: From conversations with Kurt Hofmann
  • 2003: The Complete Poems
  • 2005: The Lord Norrrdwind . Children's opera. Music: HK Gruber . WP 2005
  • 2021: What was left was a moss-green apple . With an afterword by Clemens J. Setz and illustrations by Christian Thanhäuser, Berlin 2021 (Insel-Bücherei No. 1493)

Audio productions

  • Allerleirausch , fairy tales and poems by HC Artmann, read by Jutta Schwarz
  • From my botanizing drum, HC Artmann and the Bärengässlin group (also as a book, Salzburg 1975, Residenz Verlag)
  • Dracula Dracula, radio play, performed by HC Artmann
  • Brain with egg, jazz + poetry, HC Artmann, Wolfgang Bauer , Hans Koller , Fritz Pauer
  • No pepper for Czermak, read by HC Artmann
  • Med Ana Schwoazzn Dintn , read by Friedrich Polakovics , Otto Müller Verlag Salzburg, 1960
  • Villon translated by Artmann spoken by Qualtinger with Jazz by Fatty George
  • Will Elfes Song - The General. Based on texts by Gisela Pfeifer and HC Artmann
  • Tom Parker and the false lord, detective radio play, adaptation and direction: Martin Heindel , production: WDR 2007, with a.o. Alexander Hauff , Rolf Boysen , Jennifer Minetti , Traugott Buhre and Janina Sachau
  • aus da dintn , texts (not only) from med ana schwoazzn dintn by HC Artmann interpreted by Paul Skrepek (percussion, composition) and WV Wizlsperger (voice), LP, non food factory 2020
  • Beikircher sings HC Artmann , 25 songs based on the poems of "Med ana schwoazzn dintn", sung by Konrad Beikircher, Conträr 012 - Conträr Musik 2000


  • Marcel Atze , Hermann Böhm (Eds.): “When do you organize your books?” HC Artmann's library. Vienna Library and Sonderzahl-Verlag, Vienna 2006, ISBN 978-3-85449-261-0 .
  • Michael Bauer: Directory of the writings of HC Artmann from 1950–1996. Minimundus, Scientific Series of the Austrian Theater Museum , 1997, ISBN 3-205-98800-0
  • Heide Kunzelmann: I'm the Proteus. HC Artmann's poetics of changeability. 2013, ISBN 978-3-85449-402-7
  • Helene Röbl: The trip to the island of Nantucket: some selected plays as an example of HC Artmann's poetic process (= Stuttgart works on German studies , volume 355: Salzburg contributions No. 36), Heinz, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-88099-360-2 ( Dissertation University of Salzburg 1997, 306 pages).
  • Marc-Oliver Schuster: Building for what. News about HC Artmann. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8260-4298-0 .
  • Marc-Oliver Schuster: HC Artmann's Structuralist Imagination. 2010, ISBN 978-3-8260-4473-1
  • Marc-Oliver Schuster: “The magic box / of the famous dr. mabuse / contains me, girls! ”HC Artmann's Fantastik and Raum [world] model. In: Pascal Klenke et al .: Writing Worlds. World and space models of the fantastic. Heidelberg, Winter 2014, ISBN 978-3-8253-6379-6 , pp. 141–151

Web links

Commons : HC Artmann  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f Austria Forum | https://austria-forum.org : Artmann, HC Retrieved September 27, 2019 .
  2. a b H. C. Artmann died in Vienna , Spiegel Online, December 5, 2000
  3. Thomas Geldmacher: Austrian Armed Forces Deserters and the Second Republic , in: Christine Schindler (Red.), Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance (Ed.): Focus: Armed Resistance - Resistance in the Military . Lit Verlag, Vienna and others 2009 (= 2009 yearbook of the Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance), ISBN 978-3-643-50010-6 , p. 51
  4. www.friedhoefewien.at - Graves dedicated to honor in the fire hall Simmering cemetery (PDF 2016), accessed on March 7, 2018
  5. a b c d Literaturhaus Wien: Artmann HC Accessed on September 27, 2019 .
  6. City of Vienna takes over HC Artmann's estate. Retrieved September 27, 2019 .
  7. HC Artmann and the decrepit poetry ( Memento from September 20, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  8. a b about hc artmann
  9. Festschrift for the hussar at the cathedral Hieronymus Caspar Laertes Artmann. Published by his friends Gerald Biesinger and Peter O.Chotjewitz. Ulrich Ramsegger publisher. Hamburg 1966
  10. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)
  11. Dedicated graves of the City of Vienna (Department 1, Ring 1, Group 2, Number 3)