Christian Ludwig Attersee

Born 1940 in Bratislava/Pressburg, Slovakia, as Christian Ludwig; lives in Vienna and at Semmering in Lower Austria


Youth spent in Aschach near Linz and at Attersee in Upper Austria

1957–1962: Competitive sailor, three-time Austrian national cup winner

1957–1959: Studies stage architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

1959–1963: Studies painting at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (under Eduard Bäumer)

1965: Moves to Berlin

1966: Begins using pseudonym Attersee

1971/72: DAAD scholarship in Berlin

1984: Represents Austria at the Biennale di Venezia

1990–2009: Professor of painting, animated film, and tapestry at University of Applied Arts Vienna

1998: Awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize for Art

2004: Lovis-Corinth Prize of the Künstlergilde Esslingen, Germany

2005: Awarded the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art, First Class

Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Christian Ludwig Attersee began his multitalented career in 1951, writing short novels and song lyrics and drawing comic strips, before going on to work as a visual artist, musician, author, object creator, designer, set designer, and filmmaker.

Attersee’s figurative painting makes him one of the biggest individualists in Austrian art, and his “invented objects” of erotic and daily life—such as Speisekugel, Speiseblau, and Attersteck, created between 1964 and 1966—brought him notoriety on the European Pop Art scene.

Starting in the middle of the 1960s, Attersee began a friendship with representatives of the Vienna Group and Vienna Actionism, participating in two of their group actions, Aktionskonzert für Al Hansen (1966) and the legendary Zock-Fest (1967).

His work is characterized by a figurative symbolic style, glowing colors, and dynamic brush strokes, often with double-entendre associations and fantasies from a viewpoint that is both individualistic and supremely Austrian and with a proclivity for sexual persiflage. The picture frame is frequently included in the work just as text elements are embedded in the image.


Starting in the 1980s, many large projects were created. In 1986, Attersee outfitted Vienna’s first Champagne Ball at the Konzerthaus. In 1987, he created a boat swing for André Heller’s Luna-Luna funfair. In 1996, he designed a 210 m2 mosaic front, the Wetterhändler, for a Viennese commercial building: it is the largest glass mosaic in Europe. In 2006, Attersee wrapped the Ringturm in Vienna for six weeks with a design inspired by Don Giovanni. The large, 220 m2 interior mosaic Reichtum Erde in the Geological Survey of Austria (GBA) in Vienna was completed in November 2007. In spring 2005, Attersee designed a production of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka at the Vienna State Opera , and in May 2006, a production of the ballet Wolfgang Amadé at the Madlenianum in Belgrade. Attersee outfitted the first choral ball put on by the Vienna Men’s Choral Society at the Kursalon in Vienna. In 2008, a production of Richard Strauss’s Salome designed by Attersee (both scenery and costumes) was performed at Theater Bremen. And in 2015, he designed the set for the opera Weiße Rose by Udo Zimmermann presented as part of the Bruckner Festival in Linz.

Author: Eva Badura-Triska



Christian Ludwig Attersee’s musical ambitions go back as far as his early youth when he began absorbing the mutually exclusive worlds of opera and the rock ’n’ roll and popular hits that were then emerging. His first recordings date from the late 1960s—after his first career as a rock ’n’ roller, then later as a voice and song artist in the circle surrounding the Vienna Actionists. Atterseelied and Atterseewalzer were pieces created for an early film portrait about him. In the 1970s, together with members of the Vienna Group and the Vienna Actionists, he performed as part of the Selten gehörte Musik lineup, while also continuing to develop his Malermusik (painter’s music) which was based primarily on piano adaptations of pop melodies. He presented this at various locations, mostly in exhibition contexts (which is how the record Klaviertreiben was recorded with Gerhard Rühm in 1980). His “Attersee-Matineen,” which took place continuously over several years in the 20er Haus in Vienna—usually featuring illustrious guests—are legendary.

The 1980s saw the release of the albums Weihnacht zu zweit (1983), recorded together with jazz and blues singer Christine Jones, and Attersee Musik (Lieder von Wetter und Liebe) (1985), dedicated to the eloquent pop ballad. These remain Attersee’s most acclaimed recordings to date. His musical activities continued to emerge from his interactions with a wide range of painter and musician friends, confirming his status as an exceptional artist with a great stylistic range, exemplified by his remix collection of some of his best pieces (Blut) in 2005, and then, in 2011, another duet LP (Äpfel der Liebe) with Christine Jones, who died in 2017.

In the Exhibition

In the Exhibition

Christian Ludwig Attersee, Rampi Rampi, around 1975

Munich, 1987, with Christian Ludwig Attersee (voc., piano) and the Ferry Trio, 7:13 min

Film: tv and

As part of the opening of the exhibit Attersee – Frühe Bilder 1964 – 1974 at the Galerie Klewan, the artist appeared with clarinetist Ferry Janoska’s trio in the Loft music club in Munich on September 26, 1987. Under the joint brand name “Atterseezigeuner,” they presented a broad palette of Attersee’s Kunstlieder (art songs), from pop hits and folk song renditions to rock ’n’ roll pieces supplemented with Gershwin’s Summertime. Attersee’s piano music and the Gypsy clarinet by the famous Roma musician, Ferry Janoska, dominated the sound, imparting a thoroughly idiosyncratic form of fusionesque expression. This was particularly clear with the number Rampi Rampi, the core piece of the concert, which was later released as a single. It congenially mixes seven minutes of pop format and art song improvisation, rockabilly, and gypsy swing—all centrally punctuated by the acrobatic vocal track of the master. Attersee hits all registers in his crooner voice, reminiscent of Elvis, going from yearning schmaltzy devotion back to bone-dry coarseness again. He conveys the feeling of the words “Rampi Rampi” being repeated and rephrased a hundred times over in an artfully modulated, never-ending mélange of styles, which leaves space for yet more and after the ending still echoes long in the memory.


Author: Christian Höller