Born in Vienna.
Decides to become a religious painter and enters the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna. The following year, he begins to paint works primarily on religious subjects, Crucifixion in particular.
Invents the Orgy Mystery Theater; invents the initial concept for the Six Day Play, not performed until 1998.
First exhibition in Vienna (jointly with Fritz Kindl). Meets Rudolf Schwartzkogler. Demonstrates his first action paintings.
Continues to create action paintings. Meets Otto Mühl.
Publishes, together with Mühl and Adolf Frohner, the manifesto Die Blutorgel (“The Bloody Organ”), considered the start of Viennese Actionism. Stages his first action (also featuring Mühl), which lasts 30 minutes.
Stages his second action, using paint, blood, and a slaughtered lamp. His third action (The Festival of Psycho-Physical Naturalism) is broken up by the police — Nitsch and Mühl are sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment (Nitsch appealed the verdict, but was unsuccessful and served his sentence in 1965).
An exhibition in Galerie Junge Generation is closed by order of the mayor of Vienna two days after it opens; Nitsch’s lecture scheduled as part of the exhibition is also banned.
Following his nineteenth action in Galerie Dvorak, Nitsch is arrested for five days (he is accused of displaying his action in the public gallery space). Later, accused of offending religious sentiment, he is ordered to refrain from artistic activity for six months.
Leaves Austria and spends the next few years in Germany and the US.
Marries Beate König.
Beate König buys Prinzendorf Castle near Vienna for the Orgy Mystery Theater. Nitsch subsequently begins to live in the castle nearly year-round and stages the majority of his actions there.
Participates in Documenta 5.
Stages his 41st action, the first in Prinzendorf Castle.
His 43rd action is broken up by the Munich police. Following his 45th action in Naples he is extradited from Italy.
Beate König dies in a car accident.
Participates in Documenta 7.
Marries Rita Leitenbor.
Appointed professor at Salzburg Summer Academy.
Invited to design sets and costumes for the Vienna Opera’s production of Jules Massenet’s Hérodiade.
The first full-length production of the Six Day Play (his 100th action) is held in Prinzendorf.
Designs sets and costumes for Philip Glass’ opera Satyagraha in St. Pölten.
Retrospective in ESSL Museum, Klosterneuberg, Austria.
Awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize.
Retrospective in Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin.
Opens the Hermann Nitsch Museum in Mistelbach, near Prinzendorf. The Hermann Nitsch Museum opens in Naples in the same year.