Born in Dillingen an der Donau, Deutschland, 1965
M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Hamburg, Siena
Lives in Milano and New York

Schaller has been working on the concept of creating a variation on portrait or “indirect portrait” throughout his career. A selection of his past series includes: The Mill (2001-2002), photographs of the home of Bernd and Hilla Becher; Kindertotenlieder (2003), children’s rooms in Naples, Italy; Purple Desk (2004-2008), personal offices of the cardinals of the Roman Curia; Controfacciata (2004-2016), piano nobile interiors of Venetian palaces; Fratelli d ’Italia (2005-2016), one hundred and fifty Italian opera houses; Disportraits (2008-2009), astronauts suits; Leiermann (2010-2016), on Venetian mirrors; Lagunenwalzer (2012), on fifty early punk music vinyls; Fledermaus (2013), radar images taken in the Gran Canal of Venezia; Armstrong (since 2013), the watch used by Neil Armstrong during his moon walk; Leinwand (2015), original painiting Saint Veronica by Hans Memling; Innsbruck 1512 (2015), bronce sculptures in the Hofkirche Innsbruck; Lindenbaum (2013-2016), details of the original score manuscript by Franz Schubert.  

Selected solo shows include Purple Desk at the Fondazione Cini (Biennal of Arts, Venice 2009), Fratelli d’Italia at the Museum of Modern Art (Rio de Janeiro, 2009), Das Meisterstück at Picasso Museum (Münster, 2010), Disportraits at the Museum of Contemporary Arts (Rio de Janeiro, 2011) or Das Meisterstück in the Palladian RefectoryFondazione Cini (Biennal of Arts, Venice 2015). 

Steidl published his monographs The Mill (2007) text by Thomas Weski, Controfacciata (2008) text by Richard Dyer and Purple Desk (2009) text by Andreas Beyer.  In April 2015 Steidl published also Matthias Schaller, an anthology about his work from 2000-2010 with an essay and interview by Germano Celant. Further and the same year Schaller self-published Das Meisterstück, text by Gottfried Boehm. The first book ever published on paint palettes. In 2016 Schaller self-published Leiermann with 18 photographs taken between 2010-2014 of the so called series by mentioning as text only Schubert’s song “Der Leiermann” from 1827. Through his book concept he provokes an allegory of absence about Venice declining population. Fratelli d’Italia as installation in the Vicotria&Albert Museum, London, is on display in winter 2017-2018, which is also the occassion for his third self-published book with the same title showing 150 italian opera houses as a metapher on Italy.


Grants and Awards

2010   German Photobook Award - Silver Medal - Purple Desk (Steidl Publishers)
2009  German Photobook Award - Gold Medal - The Mill (Steidl Publishers)
2008  Tokyo Wonder Site Fellowship, Tokyo (J)
1992   DAAD Fellowship, Rome (I)


Exhibitions (Selection)

2019  "Leiermann", Museum of Glass, Biennal of Arts, Venezia (I)
2019  “Matthias Schaller”, Lindenau Museum, Altenburg (D)
2018  “The Masterpiece”, Berman Museum, Collegeville, PA (USA)
2018  "Obra Prima", Museum Arpad Szenes and Vierira da Silva, Lisboa (P)
2017  “Antonio V" in: Sonnabend Collection, Museum of Modern Art Ca’ Pesaro, Venezia (I)
2017  "Fratelli d’Italia", Victoria & Albert Museum, London (GB)*
2017  "Vedi Napoli", Galleria Casamadre, Napoli (I)
2016  "Paul Cézanne" in: Sonnabend Collection, Museum of Modern Art Ca’ Pesaro, Venezia (I)
2015  "Palazzo Benzon" in: “Venice: Five Centuries of the World’s Most Alluring City”, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (USA), Group Show
           "Giorgio Morandi" in: “Giorgio Morandi”, Center for Italian Modern Art, New York City (USA), Group Show with Tacita Dean and Wolfgang Laib
           "Das Meisterstück", Refectory, Foundation Giorgio Cini, Biennal of Arts, Venezia (I)*
2011   "Disportraits", Museum of Contemporary Art, Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
           "Disportraits", Ben Brown Fine Arts, London (GB)*
2010   "Das Meisterstück", Kunstmuseum Picasso, Münster (D)
           "Matthias Schaller", Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong (PRC)
2009  "Purple Desk", Church of Saint Roch, Paris (F)*
           "Purple Desk", Foundation Giorgio Cini, Biennal of Arts, Venezia (I)*
           "Fratelli d'Italia", Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
2008  "Fratelli d'Italia", Foundation Giorgio Cini, Biennal of Architecture, Venezia (I)
           "Purple Desk", TWS, Tokyo (J)*
           "Controfacciata", Ben Brown Fine Arts, London (GB)*
2005  "Matthias Schaller 2000-2005", Art Basel Miami, Miami (USA)
2002  "Werkbildnis", Biennal of Architecture, Venezia (I)*
2001   "Studio Gursky", Goethe Institut, New York City (USA)*
2000  "Kult im Bild", Museum of the Diocese, Rottenburg (D)*
1999   "Stilo", German Bread Museum, Ulm (D)
1997   "L'altra metà", French Cultural Institute, Napoli (I)
1996   "L'altra metà" Fotoforum West, Innsbruck (A)
           "L'altra metà" Gallery Grauwert, Hamburg (D)
1995   "Ricordi", Gallery FOE 156, Muenchen (D)