Gerhard Fietz (1910 – 1997) studied in Breslau from 1930 to 1932 where he worked with Alexander Kanoldt and Oskar Schlemmer before moving to the State Art Academy in Düsseldorf. Impressive charcoal portrait and landscape drawings, photographs and diary records have been preserved from the war period in Russia between 1941 and 1943. In 1949, Gerhard Fietz, along with Willi Baumeister, Rupprecht Geiger and others, was a founding member of the ZEN 49 group. Other artists, including as Julius Bissier, Wilhelm Nay and Emil Schumacher, joined the group until its last joint exhibition in 1957; the guests included Hans Hartung and Pierre Soulage.
After the experiences of the war and initial recourse to tradition, he then looked for new artistic approaches, without programmatic definition and without striving to make a definite pictorial statement. Leading art critics, such as Will Grohmann, Ludwig Grote and John A. Thwaites, pointed to the importance of Fietz within this movement. Colour is gaining autonomy, non-objectiveness coming to the fore. For Fietz, the portrait also remains an issue in his search for an “image form…in the mirror of life experiences” (Gerhard Fietz).
After accepting a position as a guest lecturer in 1956 at the State University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, he took up the position of Professor at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin from 1957 to 1975. In addition to many other exhibitions, there was a general awareness of the reputation of this movement for German post-war modernism with his comprehensive exhibition and publication “ZEN 49” in 1986 at the Baden-Baden State Kunsthalle. Works by Gerhard Fietz can be found in the Berlinische Galerie Berlin, in the Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg, in the Sprengel Museum Hanover and in the Museum of Modern Art New York.