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Gerhard Fietz

Gerhard Fietz

*  1910 Breslau
† 1997 Göddingen bei Bleckede/Elbe

After his "Abitur" Gerhard Fietz, who was born in Breslau in Silesia, studied painting under Alexander Kanoldt and Oskar Schlemmer at the Akademie Breslau and in 1932/33 under Heinrich Nauen at the Akademie Düsseldorf. He became Kanold's master pupil at the Preußische Akademie der Künste in Berlin in 1937. Between 1941 and 1943 the artist served as a soldier at the Eastern front. His experiences during the war and in a prisoner-of-war camp had a significant effect on Fietz' work. He produced his first pastels in 1946: colour compositions in which the colour seems to grow out of the form. We only know the artist's work after the war, increasingly abstract compositions experimenting with different materials and forms, as his naturalistic early work was destroyed during the war. In 1947 Fietz belonged to a small group of abstract avant-garde painters in Munich whose like-mindedness and a search for an "inner clarification" (Fietz) led to the formation of the artist group "Zen 49", with "the ancestors of the Blauer Reiter in the background". "Each of us younger artists had reached rock bottom", wrote Fietz, "…we had all been in the war and wanted to lead a new, open and ethically clean life which was to be reflected in the contents of the picture". Fietz dealt with far eastern philosophy and medieval art with the aim to lead art back to a spiritual level. Gradually he developed a dynamic, lapidary language of form, while colour became increasingly autonomous, resulting in works with a vitality and variety of structure and colour. His preoccupation with the relationship between the self-sufficient colour and the geometric measure resulted in an increasing size of his works towards the end of the 1960s. Fietz: "The colour, with its aspirations towards the plane, and its correspondence with other colours creates a friction between the qualities, between positive and negative relationships, … which I try to contain with geometric borders and thus give the entire work a constructive stability." Fietz taught as a guest professor at the Landeskunstschule and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg in 1953 and 1956/57, and from 1957 to 1975 he was a professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin. When he was invited to the artist community Bleckede in 1979 he decided to move there. Fietz died at the age of 87 in 1997.