Fritz Opitz

1911 to 1987, Austria

Fritz Opitz was born in Klosterneuburg-Weidling. Because of his susceptibility to epileptic attacks, he was never professionally employed. He was already drawing and painting before his admission to the psychiatric hospital at Gugging.

Fritz Opitz spent the last six years of his life in the House of Artists. He learned to draw at school and continued to do so as an adult. Fritz Opitz developed his artistic work independently. He started by producing pencil drawings, then painting over these with opaque colours, and finally using ink to draw in the outlines. He often used templates for his artworks. Sometimes he also wrote phrases onto his works. His pictures have a characteristic style of border, typically with edelweiss flowers in the corners and other flowers along the sides. He drew with tremendous patience, determination and precision. Leo Navratil suggested that this artistic activity was a form of “epileptic substitution”, meaning that this prevented attacks occurring. In 1970 works by Opitz were included in the first exhibition of Gugging artists at Galerie nächst St. Stephan in Vienna, titled ”Pareidolias”.

His work can be seen in the Graphic Arts collection of Vienna’s Albertina Museum, and in the Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz.

 

Selected works