golden landscape painting

Gold, History, Friends, Sinology and Luxury

a week of a semi-retired

Vienna Culture: Sometimes I’m a little dissatisfied with myself because I’m a lazy bastard. But after a week like this, I think it’s enough for a semi-retiree. Since I also have a day job. For a while, I have set other priorities and just being able to do that is a luxury I’m very grateful for.


I’ve decided to have a few more video clips made to showcase my work, starting with portraits. Rummaging through the material, sorting it out, developing a concept…

To give the coming week a visual luxury as well, I completed a work in which I attached a gold leaf. Ok, not a lot of gold 😊 But poor artists have to be economical with their gold. [1]

golden landscape painting


Preliminary work on another clip has begun. But the main focus of the day was reading by Professor Wolfgang Kubin, the most important living sinologist in the German-speaking world. Kubin is an extremely remarkable personality. [2] The reading took place in the Café Museum, an establishment with history, an artists’ meeting place where all the important Austrian Jugendstil artists and Secessionists used to frequent, a café designed by Adolf Loos. Decades ago I was there regularly and got to know many interesting artists and authors. Seen in this way, too, a place of history for me.

BTW: Vienna has repeatedly been voted the most livable city in the world this year. Another luxury aspect is being able to live in this beautiful city.

Wolfgang Kubin signed one of his books for me: For the painter of the heart, F. Zettl. How kind of him!
During our long conversation, Prof. Kubin was enthusiastic about my suggestion that he recites some of his poems at my next exhibition in autumn. The combination of art and literature has always been important to me, as I used to be co-editor of the literary magazine Fettfleck for many years.

wolfgang kubin at cafe museum
Wolfgang Kubin reading at café museum and signed book


The portrait clip is ready and I uploaded it to youtube.

Generally ok but a little boring. It takes a big bang at the beginning. So I started working on it. Gold has to go in there. The attempts are quite appealing, however, the quality of the logo is not perfect. Unfortunately, I am a perfectionist and therefore commission a more professional logo.

first try of intro, 1 of 5 examples


I completed another painting that also brings gold into play. But very little. You have to look closely to even notice it. But the little does more than if I had set strong gold accents.

Another video clip is ready. I will introduce it next week. It shows my area of ​​gestural painting. The intro is quite appealing now I think. The outro isn’t what I wanted it to be. But OK.

improved intro


The main focus of the evening was an important book presentation to which I was invited to the Concordia Press Club [3]. Again on historical terrain, because this press club is the oldest press club in the world and is celebrating its 160th birthday this year. Right from the start, human rights and freedom of the press have been the central themes of the club, which has received international recognition.

Professor Gerd Kaminski [4], an incredible man who has published over 80 books on the subject of China, presented his new book “China and the Yellow Peril“. With almost 3 kg, it’s definitely not a book for your jacket pocket. Former Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer, whom I have already mentioned several times because I also value him very much, took part in a discussion with well-known China experts.

vienna culture: China und die gelbe Gefahr
heinz fischer – gerd kaminski – raimund löw

During the day I had been working on the preparations for a video clip of my calligraphy which I will introduce later. (For various reasons do not want to upload all new works simultaneously.)


Business lunch with Mag. Walter Fehlinger and his wife – they run the renowned Bacopa publishing house, which specializes in Chinese topics, especially Chinese medicine, and is incredibly active – also invited Prof. Wang Jing, again a sinologist, author, and the best Chinese interpreter I know. She shows heights that I have never even remotely reached. Though I am Sinologist too I could not be used anymore as an interpreter today.

friedrich zettl and walter fehlinger
friedrich – walter – walter – friedrich

We dined at the wonderful Sichuan Restaurant, a huge property with attractive architecture and landscaping. Apart from the excellent food, it is again the history of the restaurant and the excellent appearance of the facility. Again pure luxury. In addition, the operator is a fellow student of mine, making my visits to the restaurant a pleasant event.
I only got to know Walter Fehlinger a few years ago, but a good friendship quickly developed, for which I am very grateful.

vienna culture: sichuan restaurant in vienna
view at the pond with koi from our table

I finished my calligraphy video clip in the evening and I will upload it to youtube next week. Looks pretty good so far.


Refreshing, tidying up the desk, disposing of corpses, massaging, meditation, and preparing for a long painting session. It certainly helps to release pent-up energy and I sure need that.


Planned is: Sorting out the previous work, finishing it, and putting it on the Internet. But the evening program is a luxury again: an invitation to the Chinese ambassador’s summer party. Ambassador Li is not only a good, hard-working diplomat, but he is also an excellent host and I look forward to this wonderful event in an exciting property right next to Schönbrunn castle every year. Unfortunately, he will be retiring soon and we will miss him dearly.

My resolution for next week: slow down, old house! And: a shorter post next time 🙂

Link: Abstract Surrealism


[1] Actually, I originally had something else in mind. After painting the abstract landscape, I thought of swirling pink cherry blossoms coming from bottom right to top left and finally, in the sky, turning to gold. Fortunately, I started with the gold and quickly realized that it is very difficult to use gold leaf for this. I didn’t want to apply gold with a brush. So I left the flowers, which might be better.

[2] Wolfgang Kubin has written over 40 of his own books and translated even more from Chinese into German. Now 77 years old, he still teaches at Shantou University in China.

[3] Founded in 1859, the Austrian Presseclub Concordia is the oldest press club in the world. The original intention of its founders was to provide a platform to support struggling journalists. Today, while still serving as an advocate for the professional interests of journalists, above all with over 580 members, Presseclub Concordia has broadened its mission.

[4] Gerd Kaminski is an Austrian legal scholar and an expert in Chinese affairs. He has been the head of the Austro-Chinese society since 1971. He has been head of the Boltzmann Institute for Chinese and Southeast Asian research in Vienna since his habilitation in 1978. Additionally, he is holding several guest professorships, amongst others at the State University of New York and at Peking University. Furthermore, he is a Chinese affairs consultant to the Austrian Foreign Ministry. One of the main focuses of his studies is the conception of Chinese law. He has traveled to Asia more than 70 times and written more than 80 relevant books.

related: only one picture this time



15 responses to “Gold, History, Friends, Sinology and Luxury”

  1. Sue Grey-Smith avatar

    I am in admiration of your busy and productive week! Something for me to aspire to!!

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! But that was an exception and normally things are quieter for me. A lot has probably built up due to the long Corona restrictions.

  2. swabby429 avatar

    I enjoyed viewing the portraits video. It was an enlightening overview of your stylings.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! I did a lot of portraits and always enjoyed it. But portrait painting is not very popular these days. Inflation of portraiture came from selfies and social media I think.

      1. swabby429 avatar

        Social media has definately been a large factor.

  3. luisa zambrotta avatar

    What a busy week!
    Have a restful weekend🌷🌷🌷

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Many thanks! I think sometimes you need something like that to feel that you’re not old yet! Have a nice weekend too! 🌷🌷🌷

      1. luisa zambrotta avatar

        You’re so right: feeling purposeless is depressing
        Have a lovely weekend 🌺🌺🌺

  4. Nancy Richy avatar

    That koi pond pic was amazing. I’m relaxed just looking it!

  5. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

    You’ve had quite a busy and productive week. The video clip of your early portraits is very haunting.The singular serene female portrait stands out among the many empty stares, tortured, and grotesque male subjects. I love your two featured paintings, especially the captioned one. There is movement in the contrasting elements, yet it is not disruptive but harmonious.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you, Rosaliene Bacchus, for your kind words! I am very happy to hear that you see my work as intended.
      It’s only now that it occurred to me: I actually wanted to paint the pretty girls in China, but they were always so disappointed that I didn’t paint them as “pretty” as they would have liked.
      Some were really disappointed 🙂

      1. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

        Perhaps, as an artist you see beyond the “pretty” face to the heart and soul within.

      2. Zettl Friedrich avatar

        Thank you, I hope so. Oskar Kokoschka was the great master of such portraits and I learned a lot of him

  6. Carolyn Kaiser Harmon avatar

    If you are a “lazy bastard” at your high-quality output; there is no hope for the rest of us.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      You are very kind, but sometimes I really can be lazy. But old men are like this….

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