Arnulf Rainer, born in 1929 in Baden, has an importance to art history that is uncontested. He is the founder of Art Informel in Austria, and his ‘overpaintings’, developed in the 1950s, made his name well beyond Austria's borders, and cemented his fame among fellow international artists.
His committed search for new approaches to painting and his constant development of painterly strategies, accompanied by performative works and extensive writing, has led to Arnulf Rainer becoming one of the most influential living artists of our day.
In line with his parent's wishes, Arnulf Rainer studied structural engineering at the State Industrial School in Villach from 1947-49. He left both the "Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst" and the "Akademie der Bildenden Künste" in Vienna within just a few days after artistic disagreements. From now on, he formed himself autodidactically.
Under the influence of the gestic painting of Jackson Pollock, Jean Paul Riopelle and Wols, with whom he got acquainted in Paris in 1951, he turned away from fantastic Surrealism and moved on to abstract micro-structures. Around 1953 the first overpaintings, which accompanied his whole life, came into existence. Religious themes, mainly crucifications, had a lasting influence on his work.