Franz Radziwill grew up near an airport in Bremen, which led to a lifelong fascination with aeroplanes. Beginning in 1913 he studied architecture at the Höhere Technische Staatslehranstalt in Bremen and took drawing instruction at the Kunstgewerbeschule. After the First World War, he developed a style approximating Expressionism. In 1920 he took part in an exhibition of the 'Free Secession' in Berlin, where he became acquainted with such colleagues as Otto Dix, George Grosz and the artists of 'Die Brücke'. In the late 1920s and 1930s, Radziwill arrived at an idiosyncratic imagery combining borrowings from Expressionism and the New Objectivity with surreal accents. In 1933 he assumed the professorship recently vacated by Paul Klee, who had been dismissed for his political stance, at Düsseldorf's Kunstakademie. Although he sympathised with the National Socialist regime at first and was himself a party member, his works were outlawed as 'degenerate art' as early as 1935 and he, too, was dismissed. Radziwill's depictions of ships, aeroplanes and derelict village landscapes are often associated with such existential themes as isolation, destruction and transience.