Life and Work

„When painting, I discovered the great importance of the autonomy of form and color. This experience brought me very close to the work of Klee and Feininger. Through the play with forms and colors – quasi observed by my own imagination – a new world of images originated. Since the concern was no longer the image of an object, it became a poetic reality, showing recognizable objects on a strange experience level.“.


On 17 November Werner Zöhl was born in Stendal (Altmark)

1942 – 1944

Zöhl attended the Winckelmann-Gymnasiums in Stendal where he became a pupil of Prof. Erwin Hahs, who had been disbanded as a „degenerate“ artist from Burg Giebichenstein in Halle in 1933. Hahs gave Werner Zöhl important insights into banned modern art.

1944 – 1945

Soldier in the Second World War

1945 – 1948

War captivity in England. In his free time, Zöhl worked on drawings, pastels and oil paintings


Zöhl settled in Bremen and started an apprenticeship as a mason while he continued painting whenever possible.


As a mason Zöhl collaborated in the construction of the Evangelische Studienwerk Villigst (scholarship organization for gifted students funded by the Protestant church of Germany — founded in 1948).
He was awarded the “Preis Junge Kunst in Niedersachsen“. Several purchases of works were made by the City of Bremen and Zöhl obtained commissions for “Kunst am Bau” a program in which a certain proportion of expenditure on public buildings was spent on artworks.

1952 – 1954

Zöhl gave art courses at the „Evangelische Studienwerk Villigst“ and participated in international work camps of the World Council of Churches in Germany and England
A long lasting friendship with the painters Hans Meyboden and Erhard Mitzlaff began. Zöhl had individual exhibitions organized by the „Neues Forum“ in Bremen und got the opportunity to exhibit his works at the Gallerie Böttcherstraße in Bremen (among the founding members were Hans Meyboden, Herbert Albrecht, Erhard Mitzlaff and Walter Müller)


Zöhl married Margarethe Ramsauer, two children were born in 1959 and 1965

1955 – 1956

Exhibitions in Bremen, Galerie Böttcherstraße


Zöhl joined a four week study trip with a delegation of artists and art enthusiasts to the Soviet Union – visiting Moskow, Saint Petersburg, Kiev, and Tbilisi. This journey was the inspiration of a series of impressions from Russia in different media


Study trip to Poland with visits to Warsaw and Krakow, again with an official delegation invited by Polish architects who in turn visited Germany


The family moved to Fischerhude near Bremen where Zöhl’s workshop becomes a meeting point for friends and collectors


With friends the family acquired a small summer house in France near the Mediterranean sea , where Zöhl painted mainly in water color each summer under the impression of the southern light and made trips Italy and Spain. Back in his workshop a series of light-colored oil-paintings originated and grew over the years


The television portrait „Ansichten eines Menschen“ was produced about Werner Zöhl by ARD.


Trip to Crete and creation of a small group of works with impressions from Greece


Trip to the United States and visit of museums in New York, Chicago and Kansas City


Journey to Tansania and Sansibar, where he gained the inspiration for numerous drawings and oil paintings


Trip to Andalusia


Commission for a wall painting with John the Baptist in the chapel of the Johanniter Krankenhaus (Hospital of the Order of Saint John) in Bad Oeynhausen


Visit to Paris

2005 – 2007

Trips to Venice, Istanbul and Budapest


Werner Zöhl dies on 20 July