Volker Stelzmann was born in 1940 in Dresden and grew up in Leipzig. From 1963 to 1968 he completed his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, where he worked as a teacher from 1973 onwards and as a professor from 1982 to 1986. He was invited to the Biennale in Venice in 1982 and 1984, and in 1983 received the National Prize of the GDR. In 1986 he applied to emigrate from the GDR and went to live in West Berlin, where he taught as professor of painting at the University of Arts from 1988 to 2006. Stelzmann lives and works in Berlin.