Erwin Bohatsch was born at Mürzzuschlag, Styria, Austria, on 8 October 1951. After attending the Graz School for the Decorative and Applied Arts between 1966 and 1970, where he studied under Otto Brünner, Erwin Bohatsch studied painting at the Vienna Art Academy under Walter Eckert from 1971.
Erwin Bohatsch's early work is distinguished by intricately detailed, emblematic forms filling richly "linear" or graphic pictures. From 1981 Bohatsch went through a period of pure painting in which he was inspired by Italian Post-Modernism, producing work notable for fantastic, sign-like figurations and simplified compositions.
In 1983 Erwin Bohatsch was awarded the Otto Mauer Prize and in 1984-85 a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) grant for Berlin. In the late 1980s Bohatsch arrived at an organic, abstract pictorial idiom expressed in an earthy palette derived from the reticulated structure of crackled ceramic glazes.
During the 1990s Bohatsch entered on abstract reduction, which he developed into white monotypes. In 1996 he was awarded the City of Vienna Visual Arts Prize. Internationally acclaimed as an exponent of the New Austrian Painting, Erwin Bohatsch showed paintings at the Martin Gropius Building in Berlin (1982), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1984), and the Museu Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires as well as the Vienna Secession (both 1998).
The "Museum moderner Kunst" in Vienna mounted a large-scale one-man show of Bohatsch's work in 1999. Erwin Bohatsch is, alongside Hubert Scheibl and Herbert Brandl, a member of an internationally important generation of artists who have succeeded in establishing a new paradigm for abstract painting.