The founding members were Otto Piene and Heinz Mack, joined in 1961 by Günther Uecker, who went on to become the most renowned – and commercially successful – member of the group. Numerous other Contemporary artists were affiliated to the group; all were united by the determination to create works of art that put the traumatic war years far behind them.
Piene once defined ZERO as “a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning”. The official dissolution of the group can be dated to 1966.
Piene remained active until his death in 2014, at the age of 86. A painting from the earliest period is coming up for sale at Van Ham in Cologne on June 1. The untitled oil on canvas, measuring 2ft 7in x 3ft 1in (78 x 95cm), was executed by Piene in 1957, but not signed by the artist until 1983. Piene later made a name for himself with his fire paintings, paint-soaked canvases that he partially burned, and his so-called light sculptures.
In this work, however, the artist experimented with Abstract Expressive forms, pointing the way to his later dynamic works. In the last 30 years, it has been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums and has now been consigned by a local collector.
The guide is €60,000-80,000.