Skip to main content

From the Black Forest to the California Desert: The Life and Work of Fritz Faiss

The German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA®

German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™

The German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™ opened in March, 2010 in a building once known as Hockemeyer Hall. Renovations were completed by the GAHF after acquiring the building in 2008. Located on 6th Street NW in the heart of the old European-American section of Washington, the Museum sits in what is now a thriving commercial neighborhood.

Follow us


From the Black Forest to the California Desert: The Life and Work of Fritz Faiss

Never before has artwork been showcased at our museum, and for our very first art exhibit we have something exceptional to share! Featuring some 50 works by German-American artist Fritz Faiss (1905-1981), from woodcuts to encaustic (wax) paintings, Faiss’ unique blend of expressionism and abstract — named Faissism by art critics due to the impossibility of placing him within one category — ensures there is something among his works for everyone.

Born in the idyllic Black Forest, Faiss’s peaceful childhood quickly turned into a chaotic young adulthood. After studying at the Bauhaus, his work was declared entartet, or degenerate, by the Nazis in 1937 and he was forbidden from painting or exhibiting his work. In spite of this, he continued to paint in secret. Faiss’s artistic expression and his inability to hide his disapproval of the Nazi regime led to his detention in a labor camp during the war, which caused lifelong physical issues. You can read more about Faiss’s life here.

Unable to leave the country, Faiss remained in Germany until 1951, at which time he was able to receive sponsorship for a travel visa to the United States. He moved to California, became an American citizen, and created a new life for himself; this too was not without difficulties, as he often clashed with the University of California teaching system within which he worked.

Visit us at the GAHM to experience Faiss’s breathtaking artwork in person and learn about what makes him such a fascination and unique artist. This exhibit has been extended until June 2020. You can now buy an original Fritz Faiss piece:

The GAHM wishes to extend a very special thank you to Dr. Kathryn Wullner Thomas, who donated these paintings to the museum in honor of her late sister, Janet Wullner Faiss.


  • Admission:


  • Admission:

    Members, seniors, & students (with ID)


Museum Hours:

  • Tuesdays – Fridays
    from 11 am – 5 pm

For information, tickets, or groups contact the German-American Heritage Foundation at [email protected] or (202) 467-5000 or purchase online tickets.


719 6th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001


Faiss Exhibit GAHM Faiss Exhibit GAHM