Breslau 1910 -
Göddingen bei Bleckede/Elbe 1997
Gerhard Fietz was born in Breslau. After graduating from secondary school, he studied painting at the Breslau art academy under Alexander Kanoldt and Oskar Schlemmer. In 1932 and 1933 he studied at the Düsseldorf art academy under Heinrich Nauen. From 1937 to 1939 Fietz was master student under Kanoldt at the "Preußische Akademie der Künste" in Berlin. From 1941 to 1943 the artist served as a soldier at the eastern front.
His experience during the war and of being a prisoner of war strongly influenced his development as an artist. In 1946 he produced his first pastels: networks of colors, in which color develops from form. These post-war pieces were the first of his artwork which are still around. In these pieces of art, Gerhard Fietz increasingly attempted abstract interpretations and experimented with various materials and shapes. His naturalistically influenced early works were destroyed during the war.
In 1947 Fietz belonged to a small group of abstract avant-garde painters, whose common ideas and a joint desire for "innere Klärung" (Fietz) lead to the formation of the artists' group "ZEN 49" in 1949. Fietz wrote "Each one of the younger ones among us had reached rock bottom ( ... )all of us had been to war and wanted to realise a new, clear and ethically straightforward life, which is also reflected in the contents of the pictures". Gerhard Fietz studied far-Eastern philosophy and medieval art, trying to trace art back to a spiritual level. He gradually developed a dynamically succinct formal language, with color becoming increasingly autonomous, thus creating work with structural and colored movement and variety. His analysis of the relationship between autonomously applied color and geometrical measures was reflected in the ever larger picture formats towards the end of the sixties.
Fietz said: "Color striving for surface and its correspondence with other colors create tensions between qualities, between postive and negative relationships (...), which I try to capture through geometric contours and thus bestow a constructive firmness to the entirety of the picture". Fietz was a guest lecturer at the "Landeskunstschule" and the "Hochschule für Bildende Künste" in Hamburg in 1953 and 1956-57 respectively. From 1957 to 1990 the artist taught at the "Hochschule für Bildende Künste" as a professor. A visit to "Künstlerstätte Bleckede" inspired him to move there in 1979.
Gerhard Fietz died in 1997 aged 87.