key works by Friedrich Zettl. Paintings, graphics, calligraphy

key works

Selection of representative artistic works by Friedrich Zettl

On this page works are presented that show the artistic development of Friedrich Zettl. At the beginning we find works that were based on Surrealism, which was quickly followed by phases of Impressionism and Expressionism.

The great turning point is represented by the years in China and the very intensive engagement with Chinese painting. This is both research (dissertation on Chinese painting) and practical (studies at the Central Academy in Beijing).
The year 2020 represents another turning point, since abstract painting, combined with earlier experiences and theories from Chinese painting, calligraphy and the art of seal cutting, have been at the center of artistic creation.

The newest artwork are on top of the list:

details painting metaverse 1

my metaverse

mixed media on paper

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

scene at the waters

at the river

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series “abstract surrealism”

morning meditation

meditating with my friends, the stones

mixed media on paper

sheet from a series abstract surrealism

cliffs and sea painting for corona series

corona nd 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 hand made paper

earlier engagement with surrealism and cubuism is reflected in a new light. part of a tryptich 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

series of 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.

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 principles of Chinese painting.

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

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 ened 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, in order to understand Chinese painting, it is essential to copy the old masters in painting and calligraphy. Above all, in order 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.

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

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 was made from this collage. Edition of 90 pieces.
Not only was the title forgotten, the entire edition was also lost. (2-3 sheets still exist).

Some of my artwork is now listed at saatchi

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