Lot 1210


Estimate: $200 - $300
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$0 $10
$200 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$30,000 $2,500
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

FRITZ FAISS (GERMANY / CALIFORNIA, 1905-1981) ABSTRACT / MODERNIST PAINTING, oil on canvas, titled "Blue Draperie", signed "Fritz. Faiss / 69" in lower right corner, verso with handwritten title, "E. V. L.", "collect J. F. F.", and #30. Unframed. Dated 1969. 24" x 30 1/8" OA.
Catalogue Note: The present group of 18 works by German-American abstract expressionist artist Fritz Faiss (1905-1981) offered in this auction are from the ex-collection of his wife, artist Janet Wullner Faiss Cloak (1933-2017). 
Fritz Faiss was born on March 6, 1905 in the town of Furtwangen in the Black Forest section of southwestern Germany. One of fourteen children, Faiss became interested in art as a young boy. Between 1922 and 1928 he studied at the Bauhaus, a German school for art founded in 1919, and simultaneously studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart. Between 1924 and 1928, he worked as an assistant professor, where he became acquainted with many contemporary artists including Adolf Holzel. He also had training as a medical doctor. Despite Faiss having to give up his medical practice by the Nazis during the rise of Hitler, his death certificate still maintained his profession as a doctor. It is believed that Faiss used practicing medicine as a way to ensure that he was able to financially support his artistic endeavors.
As early as 1937, Faiss' art was labeled as entartet or degenerate by the Nazis. He was harassed by the Gestapo and forbidden to work as an artist, and much of his artwork was destroyed. Eventually, he was sent by the Nazis to a forced labor camp outside of Munich, where he spent about a year and became extremely ill. Of 130 prisoners, he was one of only three who survived. After his release, he accepted a position in teaching at the Stadelschule Frankfurt, an art academy in the Hessian capital. There, he lectured on encaustic painting, a process in which dry-colored pigment is mixed with heated beeswax and painted onto a heated canvas.
The American government sponsored Faiss' first exhibition after the war, in Pforzheim, in 1947, which enabled him to secure a travel visa. In 1951, he was offered a professorship at the University of California, Los Angeles, immigrating to the United States at the age of 46 and becoming an American citizen in 1956. In 1961, Faiss took a position at Valley State (now California State University of Northridge), where he taught for 12 years until his retirement in 1973. He suffered a stroke while in Hawaii in 1976, resulting in the loss of the use of his right hand. Despite the difficulties of being forced to practice with his left, he remained active until his death in 1981.
Faiss' artwork has been collected and exhibited worldwide, including in France, Italy, Germany, England, and the United States. In 1952, his first U.S. exhibit debuted in Pasadena. The most recent exhibition of his works was From Black Forest to the California Desert: The Life and Work of Fritz Faiss at the German-American Heritage Museum, Washington, DC, September 2019 - April 2020.


Very good overall condition with expected wear, some very minute scattered paint losses, canvas with some scattered fraying.

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Descended in the Faiss family, Appleton, WI.