key works

Selection of representative artistic works by Friedrich Zettl

keyworks zettl: This page presents key works that show Friedrich Zettl’s artistic development, so the audience gets a better understanding of the artist’s development. At the beginning of his career, some works are based on surrealism, soon followed by phases in which the main focus was on impressionism and expressionism.

The big turning point came during the years in China as Zettl’s intensive involvement with traditional Chinese ink painting influenced his later work. He achieved this through research (dissertation on Chinese painting) and practice (studying at the Central Academy in Beijing).

2020 marks another turning point as abstract painting, combined with earlier experiences and theories from Chinese art, calligraphy, and the art of seal carving, became the center of artistic creation.

The newest artwork is on top of the list

burning down the snow (II)

burning down the snow takes an idea from 2020 and condenses it. The aspect of surrealism also undergoes a change.

burning down the snow II
painting the big dao

the big dao

This work deals in particular with one aspect of the Dao: to appear to be something – and at the same time not to be it. There is so much to see, but if you look away and try to write down what you’ve seen, you’ll have trouble.

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the essence of dao

In addition to understanding nature and its principles, Daoism is about relating so-called opposites such as light::dark, dynamic::statics, concrete::abstract, yin::yang, etc., or the representation of the true self of the represented object.

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dao art work with wood and water

keywork from the portfolio zen moment painting

zen moment

“zen moment” is an abstract painting with different inks on yupo paper. 

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river deep mind high 

“river deep mind high” is an abstract painting with different inks on yupo paper. 

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painting sea under, keywork from abstract landscape portfolio

study for a landscape painting in oils, keywork from abstract landscape portfolio


study for a landscape painting

“elongated landscape”

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down by the sea

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series that deals with my “metaverse” conception

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painting about is versus is not, keywork form the metaverse portfolio

painting my metaverse, keywork from the metaverse portfolio


my metaverse

mixed media on paper

key-work from a series that deals with my “metaverse” conception

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at the river

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series of “abstract surrealism”

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scene at the waters, keywork from the abstract surrealism portfolio

morning meditation, keywork painting from the abstract surrealism portfolio


meditating with my friends, the stones

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series of abstract surrealism

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VIDEO with similar paintings


corona and the sea

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series that deals with the unconscious and sheet from a series that deals with the covid-19

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cliffs and sea, keywork painting from the corona series portfolio

landscape composition, ink on yupo paper, keywork from the corona portfolio


landscape in corona mode (II)

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series that deals with the covid-19

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composition in red and black

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series that deals with Chinese calligraphy

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composition red black, keywork from the gestural abstraction portfolio

surreal painting burning snow, keywork from the abstract surrealism portfolio


burning down the snow

mixed media on glossy paper

earlier engagement with surrealism is reflected in a new light.

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abstract landscape

ink and pastels on handmade paper

earlier engagement with surrealism and cubism are reflected in a new light. part of a triptych introduced HERE

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abstract landscape, ink and pastels on ongre paper, keywork from the abstract landscapes portfolio

abstraction in pink ink on synthetic paper, keywork from the gestural abstraction portfolio


composition in pink

series of paintings ink on yupo paper

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keywork of series gestural abstraction

This series combines the earliest experiences with surrealism, later with expressionism, and, above all, techniques from Chinese calligraphy.

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gestural abstraction red, yellow and black ink, keywork from the gestural expression portfolio

Mao Zedong Calligraphy on antique print, keywork from mao poems portfolio


Mao poems on antique prints

In this series, ancient western prints, documents, and other ephemera are overwritten with poems or quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong.

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overpainted calligraphy

In this series, old Chinese poems or other texts are calligraphed over and over again.

VIDEO with calligraphy by Zettl

painted calligraphy, oracle bone script, keywork from the painted calligraphy  portfolio

dried leaves and blossoms bookmark by friedrich zettl, keywork from the bookmark portfolio


withered leaves and blossoms

In this series, in which dried flowers and leaves are used, the main aim is to process the principles of Chinese painting.

VIDEO with similar bookmarks


just another death

Series of portraits of Chinese people under the aspect of memento mori

portrait of an old man, ink on rice paper, keywork from the memento mori portfolio

charcoal drawing of a lying girl, keywork from the blind drawings portfolio


lying girl

A Series of drawings were made with a charcoal pencil in a dark studio and with eyes closed. 


Portrait of a Musician

The newly developed style in landscape painting was also used for portraits and ended in a series of some 20 works.

portrait of a musician, keywork from chinese portraits portfolio

painting of running kids, keywork from the oil pastels portfolio


running kids

Oil pastels on canvas. Chinese children “running away from the Cultural Revolution”.

dreamscapes

Series of landscape paintings with dreamlike representations.

ink on glossy paper by friedrich zettl, keywork from the dreamscapes portfolio

landscape painting chinese style, keywork copies of old masters portfolio


Traditional Chinese Landscape

Of course, every painter, whether in the West or in China, has to develop his own style sooner or later. However, to understand Chinese painting, it is essential to copy the old masters in painting and calligraphy. Above all, to become familiar with the technique and composition of the important painters.


Portrait of a Chinese Peasant

This portrait of a Chinese farmer was made in Beijing in 1981. I had already worked a lot with Chinese painting techniques and tried to integrate them into western graphics.

VIDEO with portraits by Zettl

portrait chinese peasant, mixed media, keywork from the chinese portraits portfolio

keywork from the pastels portfolio Pastellbild des österreichischen Malers Friedrich Zettl

Passers-by watch football in a shop window

In 1978, certainly strongly influenced by the painter Georg Eisler, Zettl began to do graphics using oil pastels.


This image shows people watching a soccer game in front of a shop, selling television sets.

State of the art 1976

One of my first self-portraits. The plan was to paint a self-portrait every year and to name the series “State of the Art”

self portrait oils on canvas 1977, keywork from the state of the arts portfolio

ink drawing by friedrich zettl, keywork from the Italy portfolio

Saint Maria della Salute in Venice

This graphic is from a series of works created in Venice in 1976. They are sketches with ink and reed pen on paper.

Title lost

Collage with snippets from old prints, mostly around 1900. A series of lithographs were made from this collage. Edition of 90 pieces.
Not only was the title forgotten, but the entire edition was also lost. (2-3 sheets still exist).

print after a collage 1974 by friedrich zettl, keywork from the surrealism portfolio

Some of the artwork now is listed at saatchi gallery others at artmajeur

Blog posts on these and similar topics are posted regularly on https://zettl.blog/journals/



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