Approx. 400 surreal paintings by the Augsburg artist Wolfgang Lettl (1919-2008) are the focus of this collection. The collection has been supported since 1992 by the Wolfgang Lettl Association for the Advancement of Surreal Art. It was the wish of Wolfgang Lettl for his paintings not to enter the art market but to stay 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. In 2013 the contract with the operators of the building ended, and the Lettl Association has since then been searching for a new suitable exhibition space. Currently 57 surreal images are freely accessible to the public in the branch museum in Lindau which opened in 2002.
WOLFGANG LETTL himself writes:
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. But what does it mean, to retrieve images from the unconscious? How is this supposed to happen? 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. In a dream I once walked with Stalin from Moscow to Paris. 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. Here is the recipe: paint existing and non-existent objects as exactly and with as much plasticity as possible. Combine them as incongruously as possible and put them into a space where they don't belong. It's that simple? In principle, yes. But something is missing there: Don't make it too easy for yourself.