Red Dragonfly

Wolfgang Lettl2001

Lettl Collection

Lettl Collection
Augsburg, Germany

Paintings need titles. How this one acquired its name is a story Wolfgang Lettl told at the opening of his exhibition, "Lettl in Court", on December 10, 2001.

Next, there is the question of naming the paintings. A painting without a title is like a clothes hanger without a hook.

Naming is a family matter with us, just like naming children. – First of all we deliberated about the painting on the invitation card, the one with the rope skipper. The rope skipper is the main person. True, she has no face, you might as well say she has a hollow head, four legs, and a rather short shirt. How I would attach the four legs to the body was not clear to me at first, so I simply let their upper ends come out of the shirt, or rather behind and next to it. The main thing is that her skipping is more convincing and elegant than it ever would have been with just two legs.

The head has just a formal function with respect to posture and as a scalp. It has been freed of all the tasks that are specific to the head, such as eating, seeing, thinking, and smelling.

May I confess that I like the picture?

Now what is the thing to be called? What do you suggest? After much further deliberation we came up with a possibly useful initial suggestion. "On the Banks of the Garonne" sounds good and unlocks the imagination. In terms of verbal image, the distance from „Garonne“ to "Gazelle“ and then again to "Libelle" (German for "Dragonfly") was not too great. It was a better match for the rope skipper's crazy, effervescent whirring. Also, the beginning of „Libelle“ has something to do with "Liebe" (German for "love") and the ending with "bella" (Italian for "beautiful woman").

Thus "Rote Libelle", or "Red Dragonfly".

An additional suggestion was under discussion, meant to underline the significance of the cyclist. Compared to the rope skipper and the army of cardboard companions raining down into the void, grey and faceless despite their large numbers, the cyclist seems to be of lesser importance in terms of area covered, but of immanent significance for the structure of the painting, and this is underlined impressively by the yellow glare into which he is riding.

He not only fills the void created by the fact that the rope skipper, for purposes of visual tension and in order to have enough space to keep skipping, has moved slightly to the left of centre, but with his bicycle and and moving energy he also bridges the space from front to rear.

For his sake we almost chose the title, "The Liaison Man", but two thirds of the votes were for „Libelle“ ("Dragonfly"), and that is a healthy majority.

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  • Title: Red Dragonfly
  • Creator: Wolfgang Lettl
  • Date Created: 2001
  • Location Created: Augsburg, Manfredonia
  • Style: Surrealism
  • Physical Dimensions: w126 x h109 cm (without frame)
  • Original Title: Rote Libelle
  • Subject Keywords: Surrealism, Lettl, girl, dragonfly
  • Type: Oil painting
  • Rights: Florian Lettl
  • External Link: AUDIO: Rote Libelle
  • Medium: medium-density fibreboard, oil paint
  • Art Movement: surrealism
  • Art Form: painting in oil