Robert Hammerstiel | painter, graphic artist, woodcutter

Born February 18, 1933 in Werschetz (former Yugoslavia)

lives and works in Pottschach (A) and Vienna

As a child, Robert Hammerstiel experiences persecution, oppression and torture both in the internment camp and while fleeing. These experiences are still present for him today and determine his work. Although Hammerstiel’s figures are reduced, flat and faceless, they convey emotionality. The painter creates poetic imagery that is realistic illustration and unrealistic scenario at the same time, leaving room for interpretation and meditation.

In 2010 the Robert Hammerstiel Museum opens in Werschetz, in 2011 the Robert Hammerstiel Hall in the National Museum Vojvodina in Novi Sad (both Serbia).

“You don’t paint a picture in a few hours or days in your studio or somewhere outside, but you always paint on it, in every situation, in every possible place and at every time. Maybe you have worked on it in your childhood, in your youth, at any age. Because you first have to mentally process the need to capture something in a painting, then it doesn’t matter when and where you put the painting on canvas.” R.H.


1944 – 1947 Detention camp

1947 Escape to Austria via Hungary

1948 Stay in a refugee camp in Vienna

1949 – 1951 Bakery apprenticeship

1954 Austrian citizenship

1955 Work as grey caster in a steel mill

1958 Promotional award for painting (competition of the Austrian Trade Union Federation) and access to art studies at the Vienna Art School1959-1961 Studien bei Prof. Gerda Matejka-Felden, Wiener Kunstschule

1963 – 1965 Studies with Robert Schmidt and August Swoboda, Vienna School of Art

Since 1988 Freelance artist

2010 Opening of the Robert Hammerstiel Museum, Werschetz (Serbia)

2011 Opening of the Robert Hammerstiel Hall, Provincial Museum Vojvodina in Novi Sad (Serbia)

Solo Exhibitions (selection)

1973 Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, Vienna

1979 Museum Zitadelle Spandau, Berlin

1982 Künstlerhaus, Vienna

1984 Landesmuseum Palais Rohan, Strasbourg

1985 Wilhelm-Morgner-Haus, Soest

1988 Austrian Cultural Forum, New York

1991 Kairo, Museum für Moderne Kunst

2002 Vršac, Nationalmuseum

2003 Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, St. Pölten (A)

2006 Leopold Museum, Vienna

2008 Permanent Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the EU, Brussels

2012 Vienna, Albertina

2018 „Gemälde – Monotypien“, LAING Gallery, Münster

2019 „Bildnerische Selbstbegleitung“, Kunstmeile Krems

2023 „Eine vielschichtige Begegnung“, LAING Gallery, Münster

Prizes (Selection)

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Leopold Museum, Wien

Thyssen-Bornemisza-Museum, Madrid

Kunstmuseum San Francisco, San Francisco

Sammlung Leopold, Wien

National Gallery, London

Vatikanstaat, Rom

Deutschlandhaus, Berlin

Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg/A

Oberes Belvedere, Wien

Austrian Institut, New York

Staatsmuseum Bulgarien, Sofia

Centro Artistico Culturale, Rom

Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Recklinghausen/D

Museum Rupertinum, Salzburg/A

Albertina, Grafische Sammlung, Wien

Prizes (Selection)