Otto Piene

Date/place of birth

1928 Laasphe

Otto Piene - Untitled
Otto Piene - Untitled

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Otto Piene biography

Otto Piene – Buy works by Otto Piene in our next auction

Works by this artist of the Zero group are always among the highlights of any contemporary art auction. In our upcoming sale you will have the opportunity to purchase several of his works:

  • Otto Piene - Große Blume am Himmel
  • Otto Piene - Triumvirat (Projekt Media Park Köln)
  • Otto Piene - In the night
  • Otto Piene - More Fire
  • Otto Piene - Rose oder Stern
  • Otto Piene - Untitled (lot 697)
  • Otto Piene - Untitled (lot 698)
  • Portfolio - ZERO

Otto Piene is among the most versatile and influential artists of post-war era Germany. His early training already reflected his vast range of interests: Piene studied at the Blocherer School of Interior Decoration and Communications Design from 1948 – 1950, as well as studying painting at the Munich Academy of Arts. Directly thereafter he spent three years at the Düsseldorf Academy whilst simultaneously working as a lecturer at the Düsseldorf Fashion College (1951 – 1964). Following his artistic training he studied philosophy at Cologne University, finishing his studies with a “Staatsexamen” degree in 1957.  

Piene was innovative in his work from the very beginning, examining the possibilities for correlation between nature, art, and technology. He founded the ZERO group with his friend Heinz Mack in 1958, and they were joined by Günther Uecker three years later. The three are considered the most internationally influential artists of the post-war era until this day. Piene created his first “Rasterbilder” (grid pictures) in 1957, and he began with his “Rauch- und Feuerbilder” (smoke and fire pictures) shortly after. He also expanded his repertoire beyond works on canvas, exploring “archaic, mechanical, and automatic light ballets”, the dynamic convergences of light and movement. In his monumental Sky Art projects, Piene experimented with the appropriation of nature as a means of artistic expression (for example in the “Regenbogen” (rainbow) during the closing ceremony of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich).  

Piene’s professorship in Pennsylvania

Otto Piene relocated to the USA in 1964, where he accepted an honorary professorship from the University of Pennsylvania. During his tenure as a lecturer at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies des Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CAVS/MIT) in Cambridge he was further able to explore and develop the multi-media qualities of his art. His goal there was to create a synthesis of man and nature through a cooperation between artists, scientists, and engineers and the use of new technologies such as computers and lasers. He was director of the CAVS from 1974 – 1994. Piene’s works can be seen exhibited in numerous large museums and collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffallo), the Folkwang-Museum (Essen), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), and the National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo). Today, the artist lives and works in Groton, Massachusetts and Düsseldorf.


© Kunsthaus Lempertz

Otto Piene Prices

Otto PieneUntitled€235.600
Otto PieneUntitled€124.800
Otto PieneUntitled€56.120
Otto PieneGreen Blossom€53.680
Otto PieneUntitled€52.500
Otto PieneUntitled€48.800

Otto Piene - Current offers and reference objects