Arnulf Rainer was born on 8 December 1929 in Baden near Vienna. The Austrian painter and graphic artist is mostly known for overpainting existing pictures and photos and the painted wooden panels in the form of crosses. He has exhibited several times at the documenta in Kassel and the Biennale in São Paolo, represented Austria at the Venice Biennale and had a comprehensive retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Since Arnulf Rainer was forced to paint realistically at school, he left it again quite soon. In 1947, he met Maria Lassnig and came into contact with contemporary art for the first time. Inspired by the "Surrealist Publications" he created his first surrealistic portraits. He was accepted at the Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Applied Arts but left both after only a few days. Together with Maria Lassnig, Arik Brauer, Ernst Fuchs and others, he founded the "Hundsgruppe", with which he exhibited only once in 1951. At this time Rainer signed his paintings only with TRR. Around 1953 he produced "Reductions" and the first overpaintings, a few years later the first painted cross forms. At the end of the 50's Rainer moves to Vienna to the Wollzeile. In the following years he uses Ultraphan and Pausleinen for the first time. He also moves into a studio in Berlin. He began to be interested in the art of the mentally ill and works of art are created under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. His first face paintings were created, and later he began to paint over photographs of his face. In the 1970s Rainer also began to work with film media. He then not only painted over his face, but also other pictures, such as prints of well known paintings. An old farm in Upper Austria was acquired by him in 1980 and converted into a studio, where he also resumed work on his crosses. In the following year he was appointed professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. In the 1980s and 1990s he created several cycles and series, including "Aus der Schlangengrube" and the "Katastrophen-Serie". Arnulf Rainer's works became more and more known through various solo exhibitions in America and Europe. At the beginning of the 2000s, Rainer was awarded an honorary doctorate in theology. In 2009 the Arnulf Rainer Museum in Baden near Vienna opened. Today Arnulf Rainer lives and works in Upper Austria and on Tenerife.