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Photo Sister Etel –

“People with a history (history)”

Sister Elfriede Ettl is known far beyond the borders of Burgenland, especially for her water works. Among other things, two participations in the Oskar Kokoschka Summer Academy were important to her work.

Sister Etl, a nun of painting, has fascinated cultural journalist Günther Unger all her life. “She was incredibly open and grounded. A real Heideboden character. She came from Frauenkirchen and studied for decades at the Theresianum in Eisenstadt at its yeshiva, at the same time developing a huge artwork that is truly unparalleled in Burgenland,” says Unger.


Sister Elfriede Ettle

The passion for photorealistic photography was hidden at first

One of Sister Ettel’s works is on display at the Anniversary Gallery in Schlenning. It differs from the watercolor painting that she is famous for. “Photorealism was actually founded in the United States by local artists and then came to Europe. I more or less fell in love with this style and secretly started doing work in this direction,” said Unger.

Gunther Unger


Gunther Unger

She knew her watercolors were good. “She was not a particularly modest person, so she knew her quality. But for a long time she was unsure whether she could fit into this modern style, and if so, whether others would appreciate it. She also hid it a little from her sisters and then did it in the attic of the convent “.

The frequent path to the audience

Then the business lay there for years. These works were never exhibited during her lifetime. “Until people like me came and said it was very important, beautiful pictures should be made available to the public. Then she was very hesitant and asked me if this was a good idea and if she should dare to do it. “Then I said yes – do it,” Unger said.

“People with a history (history)”

Günter Unger on Sister Elfriede Ettl

(Broadcast notice: “People with a date(s)”, January 30, 2023)

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