Wolfgang Lettl

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Wolfgang Lettl (2002)

Wolfgang Lettl (born December 18, 1919 in Augsburg ; † February 10, 2008 ibid) was a German surrealist painter .

Live and act

Wolfgang Lettl was the son of Josef and Maria Lettl. After attending school in Augsburg, he did his military service in the Second World War from 1939 to 1945. While working as a news soldier in Paris, he encountered surreal art for the first time and painted watercolors in his spare time . Then he was a reconnaissance pilot in Norway. After the war Lettl was four months in captivity .

From 1945 to 1948 Lettl worked in Augsburg as a freelance painter and made his first surrealist attempts there. In 1949 he married Franziska Link (1924–2010). After he made a living from 1948 to 1954 a. a. as a construction and warehouse worker, Lettl worked as a freelance painter from 1954. He carried out orders in the field of wall painting , sgraffiti , mosaic , colored windows and portraits . He also developed his own surreal style.

From 1963 to 1990 Lettl regularly took part in the Great Art Exhibition in Munich in the Haus der Kunst . He became a member of the Neue Münchener Künstlergenossenschaft and also had many solo exhibitions (see list below). In 1975 he set up a second home in Manfredonia (Italy). The southern light inspired him to take occasional impressionist paintings. From 1986 to 1990 Lettl designed the covers of the book supplements for Die Welt .

On the occasion of an exhibition in the Toskanische Säulenhalle in 1992, Wolfgang Lettl made the city of Augsburg an offer to give it a selection of pictures from his private collection on permanent loan . In the same year an association for the promotion of surreal art was founded. V. was founded with the primary goal of preserving Lettl's work in the city of Augsburg and making it accessible to the public. In 1993 the Lettl-Atrium ("Museum for Surreal Art") was built in the premises of the Swabian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Augsburg .

To Lettls 75th birthday was in 1994 drama The board of Heinz Ratz to the Series night rooms premiered. In 1998 and 1999, Lettl worked on four surreal short films : Die wahnsinnige Lemon , Riegele , SUB , and The Operation . Also in 1999, an exhibition of his found aquatint - Etchings instead.

The year 2000 brought a large special exhibition about Lettl's life's work: Lettl - 80 years . In connection with this, the Lettl in motion project was created , in which five students from the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences ( multimedia course ) implemented Lettl's work in multimedia.

In 2002, another permanent exhibition of Lettl's works was opened in the Haus der Wirtschaft in Lindau . 2004 85th Lettls birthday, was the multimedia project doors of Bernhard Möller (theater IrrReal) and Florian Lettl.

Wolfgang Lettl's grave with a bronze figure of his son Florian Lettl

Wolfgang Lettl died on February 10, 2008 at the age of 88. He was buried in the Catholic cemetery on Hermanstrasse in Augsburg, in a wall grave on Hermanstrasse.


Lettl left behind over 1000 works, around 500 of them in the style of surrealism. A comprehensive picture gallery can be found on the artist's homepage.

Entrance to the Lettl Museum (2020)

The Lettl Atrium closed in December 2013 for renovation and renovation work. The permanent exhibition in Lindau also closed in 2016. A new space for a Lettl permanent exhibition was sought and found in Augsburg. On December 18, 2019, the Lettl Museum for surreal art opened at Zeuggasse 9 in the center of Augsburg.


  • 1960 Wolfgang Lettl, Karl Denzner (Art Award of the City of Augsburg), Schaezlerpalais , Augsburg
  • 1967 "Wolfgang Lettl at Willmeroth", Augsburg
  • 1972 Wolfgang Lettl, Claus-Dietrich Hentschel, gallery in the Girokasse, Stuttgart
  • 1978 "Wolfgang Lettl", Haimhausen Castle , Dachau district
  • 1979 "Wolfgang Lettl", Unterer Fletz, Augsburg City Hall
  • 1982 "Wolfgang Lettl", Enderlesaal, Donauwörth
  • 1984 "Wolfgang Lettl", foyer of the Ingolstadt City Theater
  • 1985 "Wolfgang Lettl", Bourges , France
  • 1988 "Wolfgang Lettl", Bavarian Representation, Bonn
  • 1988 "Wolfgang Lettl", Tuscan portico in the Augsburg armory
  • 1992 "Wolfgang Lettl", Tuscan portico in the Augsburg armory
  • 1993–2013 Lettl-Atrium , Museum for Surreal Art, IHK Swabia, Augsburg
  • 1994 “Night Dreams”, Lettl-Atrium, IHK Schwaben, Augsburg
  • 1995 "Lettl goes on vacation - Pictures from Apulia", Lettl-Atrium, IHK Swabia, Augsburg
  • 1996 "Lettl goes on vacation - Pictures from Apulia", Stadtsparkasse Günzburg, Günzburg
  • 1996 "Irrigma", Lettl-Atrium, IHK Schwaben, Augsburg
  • 1997 “Mannsbilder”, Lettl-Atrium, IHK Schwaben, Augsburg
  • 1998 “In Lettl's Footsteps”, Lettl-Atrium, IHK Schwaben, Augsburg
  • 1999 "Aquatinta-Etchings", Lettl-Atrium, IHK Schwaben, Augsburg
  • 1999 "Wolfgang Lettl - 80 Years", Gallery of the Bayerische Landesbank, Munich
  • 2000 "Wolfgang Lettl - Retrospective", Tuscan pillared hall in the Augsburg armory
  • 2000 "Pictures at the turn of the millennium", Lettl-Atrium, IHK Schwaben, Augsburg
  • 2002–2016 “Lettl in Lindau - Surrealism in the House of Business”, House of Business, Lindau
  • Since 2019 Lettl Museum for Surreal Art , Zeuggasse 9, Augsburg

Lettl's pictures as a source of inspiration

“The moment”, sculpture by Florian Lettl (1993) in the IHK Park

Works of various art movements were inspired by Lettl's pictures. His son Florian Lettl created several large sculptures that vividly reproduce Wolfgang Lettl's motifs and which are often mistaken for works by the painter. The following sculptures by Florian Lettl are or were exhibited in public spaces:

  • "The Moment" (1993), aluminum, iron, wood, epoxy resin, has been standing in front of the IHK Schwaben in Augsburg since 1993
  • “Summit meeting” (1994–1995), epoxy resin and aluminum, stood in front of the IHK Schwaben in Augsburg from 1996
  • "Summit" (2003/2004), aluminum casting, has been in Augsburg since 2003
  • "Summit meeting" (2003/2004), cast aluminum, 2004–2018 in Lindau, has been standing in Manfredonia since 2018 on a square on the promenade that does not yet have a name. It is said to be named after Lettl.
  • "The Candidate" (2009), cast bronze, stood from January to April 2010 on Moritzplatz (Augsburg)
  • "The Dream" (2009), cast bronze, has stood on Wolfgang Lettl's grave in the Hermanfriedhof, Augsburg, since 2009

There are also lyrical works, musical works, stage works, films and multimedia works by various artists and authors that take up and process Lettl's surreal image motifs.


“Pictures have their own language, what they want to communicate cannot be expressed otherwise, they are messages from“ over there ”or at least could be. They do not address the mind , but what we are trying to describe with the stale term " soul ". However, anyone who believes they have to stand with both feet on the ground of reality will find it difficult to fly, and whoever thinks that they can only rely on science in everything can easily get into difficulty with the hereafter and sometimes cannot understand once what is supposed to be beautiful and true in a picture, because your eye has only learned to see in one direction. "

- Wolfgang Lettl : in a speech on the occasion of the special exhibition on his 85th birthday (2004)

“What I want is to put it quite simply: paint beautiful pictures . But beauty always has to do with truth . And because beauty cannot be forced, I have always tried at least not to paint stupid pictures and I am happy when someone likes them. "

- Wolfgang Lettl


  • Nicole Büsing: Wolfgang Lettl . In: Detlef Bluemler (ed.): Artists - Critical Lexicon of Contemporary Art . tape 120 , no. 25 , 2017. (16-page monograph)

Web links

Commons : Wolfgang Lettl  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Muse, model, patron
  2. ^ Tomb of Wolfgang Lettl
  3. 20 years Lettl-Atrium in the IHK Swabia. (No longer available online.) Www.schwaben.ihk.de, formerly in the original ; accessed on October 27, 2015 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.schwaben.ihk.de  
  4. Video of a dancer in front of this sculpture