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Opus 88 (unfinished)

Wolfgang Lettl2007

Lettl Collection

Lettl Collection

During the last 10 years of his life Wolfgang Lettl collaborated intensively with his son, Florian. This made it possible for over 100 surreal paintings to be created between 1998-2007, despite severe illness and declining physical and mental powers.

As for the final painting shown here, Florian Lettl not only collaborated intensively as before on developing the theme, but he also finished the painting to the point where it was ready to be shown.

When Wolfgang Lettl’s strength failed and he realized that he could no longer paint, he decided to die. He died on February 10, 2008 in the arms of his son Florian and surrounded by his paintings.

On the one hand, this final painting shows the conductor and his orchestra in an ascending movement. Art comes from the unconscious, it is concealed, in this painting in the watery depths. It it is the artist's creative act that raises it up to the light of day and makes it visible.

By contrast with the conductor dressed in black who reaches up with both arms, with the baton underlining the upward movement, the white marble sculpture of St. Bruno by René-
Michel Slodtz, called Michel-Ange Slodtz (1705-1764), is already standing on its pedestal. The sculpture was created in 1744 for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

One hand of the Saint is making a gesture of refusal, the other one is pointing downwards. For compositional reasons, both the putto who wants to present the bishop’s insignia to the Saint and the Saint's attributes (skull, chain and book) to which the hand is pointing, are missing from the painting.

The gestures in the painting thus refer to the conductor and his work; they admonish the artist to be modest and remind him discreetly of his transience.

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