Aloys Zötl

1803 Freistadt/Austria – 1887 Eferding/Austria

Aloys Zötl was an Austrian dyer and painter. In Eferding he worked as a dye master and having hardly ever travelled, he drew his inspiration for his art primarily from books, such as Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ or Buffon’s ‘Natural History’. Between 1834 and 1887 Zötl created extensive and encyclopedic watercolors of animals. The ‘bestiarium’ was originally bound in 4 albums and contained over 400 sheets that have since been distributed around the world.

André Breton, poet and leading thinker of surrealism discovered the work years after Zötl’s death and wrote the foreword for the 1955 auction catalogue in Paris, where they were auctioned for the first time. With his listing in the ‘Surrealists avant la lettre‘ is Zötl the only ‘official‘ Austrian surrealist. His works were first published in a monograph in 2004.


Aloys Zötl, Hirscheber, 1847

13 January – 18 February 2017

Aloys Zötl

Bestiarium of its own kind

Galerie Haas Zurich will show from January 13 to February 18, 2017 with works by Aloys Zötl, Kate MccGwire and a graphic by Walton Ford.



“With his ingenious water colour technique and fine colouration, the master dyer Zötl depicts idyllic landscapes with mountains, volcanoes, seas, tropical plants and corresponding weather.”

Erika Schlessinger-Költzsch