Frank Weitzel

Aotearoa New Zealand / Australia, b.1905, d.1932

Abstract Design

  • 1931
  • Linocut
  • Presented by Rex Nan Kivell, 1953
  • 350 x 270mm
  • 94/198

Frank Weitzel grew up in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, and studied overseas in San Francisco and Munich before settling in Sydney in 1928 where he became part of the city’s burgeoning modern art scene. His close associations with the printmakers Thea Procter and Dorrit Black led to his interest in the linocut, and he became part of the progressive Group of Seven artists. Frank relocated to London in 1930, where he was invited by Claude Flight to exhibit with the British linocut artists at the Redfern Gallery in 1930 and 1931 – including the works displayed here. Claude wrote to Dorrit Black regarding Frank’s linocuts that he was “very pleased to have Mr Weitzel’s work for the show. I like it very much, it’s original, strong, good of its kind & just the sort of work we want.” With a bright future ahead of him, Frank died tragically young at just twenty-six years of age.

Ink on Paper: Aotearoa New Zealand Printmakers of the Modern Era, 11 February – 28 May 2023

Read an article about this work from The Press

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016

    A New Zealand-born artist of German parentage, Frank Weitzel pursued art studies in San Francisco, New York and Munich before moving in 1928 to Sydney in his early twenties. There he established a reputation within modernist circles with his sculpture and textile designs, exhibiting alongside other well-travelled artists including Dorrit Black, Grace Cossington Smith, Roy de Maistre and Roland Wakelin.

    Weitzel moved to London in 1931, attracting critical attention while showing with artists such as Jacob Epstein, Paul Nash, John Nash and the printmaker Claude Flight, whose cubist- and futurist-influenced linocuts impacted his new work. Taking on sculpture commissions, he also designed posters for Shell and the London Underground, and planned to exhibit in Berlin, San Francisco and London. His life was tragically cut short, however, in 1932 by tetanus poisoning.

    At the height of his promise, he died aged just 26.

  • By 1930 Frank Weitzel had developed a strong interest in abstract compositions. His Abstract Design is a delightful study of overlaid abstracted forms which combine to create a rich patterning of shapes and colours. Weitzel was born in Levin, New Zealand, and studied at the Wellington Technical College. In 1923 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Californian Institute of Fine Arts, and by 1928 he had settled in Sydney. Around 1930 Weitzel moved to London where he studied under Claude Flight at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art. He was only 26 years old when he died of tetanus. (Label date unknown)