Hermann Nitsch, 83, dies; Searched for artistic transcendence in blood and guts

There’s a Herman Nitsch Museum in Naples, Italy – the country that once escaped him. Curators have eagerly pursued him, though there have been some hiccups: In 2015, Mexico City’s Museo Jumex canceled an exhibition of his paintings, saying that because the country experienced so much bloodshed – 43 college students had recently been murdered by a drug gang – Mr. Nitsch’s work may be too outrageous for its citizens.

After Mr Nitsch’s death, Alexander Van der Bellen had the President of Austria this to say on Twitter:

With expressive images and sensational campaigns, Hermann Nitsch has redefined the local art world. Austria mourns the loss of a fascinating painter and an impressive person. His work will live on, I’m sure. ”

Hermann Gustav Nitsch was born in Vienna on August 29, 1938. His father, Johan Nitsch, was an engineer who was killed in battle for the Germans in Russia during World War II; his mother, Helene (Dostal) Nitsch, was a homemaker.

Hermann was raised Roman Catholic, although his family was not very religious. He was kicked out of high school, he said, because he did not try. He said his childhood bombings deeply affected him and made him, as he put it, “an opponent of all nationalism and politics.”

Sir. Nitsch graduated from a graphic design college in Vienna and earned a degree in 1958. He worked as a graphic designer for a time, but when he saw a show of work by Jackson Pollock, Sam Francis, Willem de Kooning and other abstract expressionists, he was inspired. to become an action painter himself – even though he left the “painter” part pretty quickly.

An early marriage to Eva Krannich ended in divorce. His second wife, Beate Konig, a child psychiatrist, died in a car accident in 1977. She had an inheritance that allowed the couple to buy a castle in 1971, a suitable setting for the kind of work he wanted to do. It even has its own chapel.

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