The Surrealism Website
Wolfgang Lettl (1919 - 2008)
Wolfgang Lettl was born in Augsburg, Germany. At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the
German army and in 1940 was posted to German occupied Paris as a communications officer. There he became aware of
surrealism and began creating some watercolour paintings. After the war ended he returned to Augsburg and tried to
establish himself as an artist, undertaking general work, portraits and landscapes. In 1950 he turned to developing
his surrealist style, and by the early 1960s he had amassed a considerable body of work and received some
recognition by being invited to participate in the 1963 Great Art Exhibition in Munich. After this he had many
In 1992 he set up 'Verein zur Förderung surrealer Kunst e.V.', the Association for the Promotion of Surreal Art. It
was his wish that his paintings should not enter the art market but stayed together and be made accessible to the
public free of charge. The Lettl Atrium Museum of Surreal Art thus came into being in Augsburg in 1993.
It displayed 168 surreal paintings and attracted about 70,000 visitors annually. Unfortunately in 2013
the contract with the owners of the building ended, and the Lettl Association has since then been searching
for a new suitable exhibition space.
Wolfgang Lettl wrote :- "Surrealism attempts to retrieve images from the unconscious; thanks to depth psychology
we know that unconscious thought determines who we are to a much greater extent than conscious thought,
and that it is not advisable to ignore this... We are all familiar with images from the unconscious, from myths and
fairy tales, and from dreams. They are not realistic images but fantasies, strange, unreal, confusing, beyond our grasp.
And they rely on symbols: memorable and compelling shapes and objects. Myths and fairy tales tell us about gods, giants,
kings, paradise and the underworld.... The Surrealist uses all of these things as stylistic devices: strong symbols,
combinations of objects that don't belong together, strangeness, novel shapes, questioning the familiar by undermining
and fracturing it, ignoring spatial reality."
The website devoted to the work of Wolfgang Lettl is at www.lettl.de