life and work

*1965, July 14


Günther Schützenhöfer is a draftsman who is able to handle pencils and colored pencils in a way very few other Art Brut artists are capable of doing. In addition to his ability to reduce form to what might be called a minimal distillation of the subject matter, he has a masterful understanding of how to compose the picture plane with a pencil. Whether carried out in gray (with lead or graphite pencils) or in color, his surfaces become formations that are intensely and captivatingly flat, but almost three-dimensional. The contrast of light and dark within a single stroke is repeated across entire areas containing no hint of perspective. They are layers or levels that look like miniature fields worked with a plow or similar device; here the effects generated by a single stroke are often like the furrows and ridges of the ground.

Schützenhöfer creates tensions in these images, which can additionally produce a humorous effect through a comical aspect in the treatment of their subject matter. His drawings’ success in Europe, but also in New York City, identifies Schützenhöfer as one of Art Brut’s major talents and shows that it still possesses great representatives in the present.


Günther Schützenhöfer was born to the south of Vienna in the town of Mödling on July 14, 1965. He was already sent to various homes as a child because of poor and defiant behavior, and he also spent many years in the infamous “Children’s Building” of the former psychiatric facility in Gugging. When that institution was closed, he spent a few years in northern Lower Austria, in the town of Retz; when that became impossible, Schützenhöfer moved into the forensic ward of the psychiatric hospital at Gugging. That is where Johann Feilacher discovered Schützenhöfer’s drawing talent and brought him to the nearby House of Artists on March 15, 1999.


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