key works by Friedrich Zettl. Paintings, graphics, calligraphy

key works

Selection of representative artistic works by Friedrich Zettl

This page presents key works that show Friedrich Zettl’s artistic development. At the beginning of his work, 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 and Zettl’s intensive involvement with traditional Chinese ink painting. This was achieved through research (dissertation on Chinese painting) and practice (studying at the Central Academy in Beijing).

2020 marks another turning point. Abstract painting, combined with earlier experiences and theories from Chinese art, calligraphy, and the art of seal carving, is now at the center of artistic creation.

The newest artwork is on top of the list

painting sea under

river deep mind high 

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


study for a landscape painting in oils

study for a landscape painting

mixed media on paper

“elongated landscape”


painting about is versus is not

down by the sea

mixed media on paper

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


details painting metaverse 1

my metaverse

mixed media on paper

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


scene at the waters

at the river

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series of “abstract surrealism”


morning meditation

meditating with my friends, the stones

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series of abstract surrealism

VIDEO with similar paintings

cliffs and sea painting for corona series

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


composition ink on yupo paper

landscape in corona mode (II)

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series that deals with the covid-19


composition red black

composition in red and black

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series that deals with Chinese calligraphy


surreal painting burning snow

burning down the snow

mixed media on glossy paper

earlier engagement with surrealism is reflected in a new light. more


abstract landscape ink and pastels

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


abstraction in pink ink on synthetic paper

composition in pink

series of paintings ink on yupo paper


gestural abstraction red, yellow and black ink

keywork of series gestural abstraction

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



Mao Zedong Calligraphy on antique print

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.


painted calligraphy oracle bone script

overpainted calligraphy

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

VIDEO with calligraphy by Zettl

bookmark with blossom and leaf artwork by friedrich zettl

withered leaves and blossoms

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

VIDEO with similar bookmarks

portrait of an old man ink on paper

just another death

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

charcoal drawimg of a lying girl

lying girl

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

Portrait of a Chinese Girl

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

ink on glossy paper by friedrich zettl


Series of landscape paintings with dreamlike representations.

landscape painting chinese style

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 chinese peasant mixed media

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

pastels by friedrich zettl

Passers-by watch football in a shop window

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

This image shows people watching a soccer game in front of a television set.

self portrait oils on canvas 1977

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”

ink drawing by friedrich zettl

Saint Maria della Salute in Venice

print after a collage 1974 by friedrich zettl

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).

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