Horst Janssen (German, 1929–1995) was a prominent draftsman, printmaker, and illustrator. Born in Hamburg, Janssen attended the Landeskunstschule, where he studied under graphic artist Alfred Mahlau. In 1947, Janssen published his first drawing, which appeared in the national newspaper Die Zeit. He also published several children’s books.

In the 1950s, he began experimenting with lithography and woodcutting, influenced by the work of Edvard Munch. Around the same time, Janssen was commissioned by paper manufacturer Guido Dessauer to create a portrait of his father-in-law, which enabled the artist to create lithographs using the technology available to him at Dessauer’s factory. Janssen made large-format woodcuts in color, fusing Expressionist and Surrealist influences. He gained recognition, and, in 1957, had an exhibition in Hanover at the Hans Brockstedt Gallery. Following this show, he changed his focus to etching, studying with Paul Wunderlich, and his works displayed influences of Art Brut and Jean Dubuffet.

In 1964, Janssen was awarded the Darmstadt Art Prize. In 1965, a retrospective of his drawings and graphic works was held at the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hanover. He also received Hamburg’s Edwin-Scharff-Prize in 1966. Two years later, he was awarded first prize for graphic art at the Venice Biennale.

His success continued into the 1970s. In 1975, he won the Schiller Prize of the city of Mannheim, where an exhibition of his drawings was held in 1976. In 1977, his work was shown at the documenta VI in Kassel.

Janssen died of a stroke at the age of 65, and was buried in the Gertruden-Graveyard in Oldenburg.

Over the course of his career, Janssen’s work was show internationally, in Basel, London, Olso, New York Chicago, Barcelona, and Japan, among others. In 2000, the Horst Janssen Museum opened in Oldenburg.

Timeline

1929
Born on 14 November in Hamburg
1947–1948
Published his first drawing in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, and his first book of Punch and Judy tales, Seid ihr alle da?
1951
Received a scholarship to the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkese
1946–1952
Studied free and applied graphic art at the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg; became a master-class student with Alfred Mahlau
1952
Awarded Lichtwark scholarship by the city of Hamburg; left the Landeskunstschule against his will
1957
Awarded scholarship by the Kulturkreis im Verband der Deutschen Industrie
1964
Won the city of Darmstadt art prize
1965–1966
Awarded the city of Hamburg's Edwin Scharff Prize
1968
First Prize, Venice Biennale
1975
Awarded the city of Mannheim's Schiller Prize
1978
Awarded the city of Hamburg's Biermann Rathjen Medal
1984
Became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich
1990
Wins the prize of Die oldenburgische Landschaft association, Oldenburg
1992
Made an honorary citizen of the town of Oldenburg
1995
Had a stroke and died on August 31; buried at St. Gertrude's Cemetery in Oldenburg
2000
The Horst Janssen Museum opened in Oldenburg

Exhibitions

2014
Galerie Brockstedt, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2012–2013
Horst Janssen als Angeber X - Flegeleien und Verneigungen, Horst-Janssen-Museum Oldenburg, Germany (solo)
2008
Abgruende, HR Giger, Horst Janssen, Guido Sieber, Zitadelle Spandau, Bastion Kronprinz, Berlin
1998
Städtisches Museum Braunschweig, Germany
1998
Germanisches Nat. Mus.
1997
Kunsthalle Hamburg
1997
KunstHaus Wien, Austria
1996–1997
Akademie der schönen Künste, Munich, Germany
1996–1997
Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany
1996
Käthe Kollwitz Museum Berlin, Germany
1995
Landesmuseum Oldenburg, Germany
1994
Altonaer Museum Hamburg, Germany
1994
Hamburger Kunsthalle; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany
1993
Fine Art Museum Taipeh, Taiwan
1992
Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig, Germany
1991
Odakyu Grand Gallery Tokyo, Japan
1991
Munch Museum Oslo, Norway
1991
Albertinum, Dresden, Germany
1990
Claude Bernard Gallery New York, USA
1988
Stadtmuseum, Machida, Japan
1987
Musée Sursock-The People's Hall Damaskus, Syria
1983–1985
Everson Museum, Syracuse; Fort Wayne Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago, USA
1982
Albertina, Vienna; the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, Japan; Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway
1980
Art Institute of Chicago; Busch Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1979
Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany
1978
Stadtmuseum, Oldenburg, Germany
1976
Kunsthalle, Mannheim, Germany
1974
Kunsthalle, Bielefeld, Germany
1973
Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover; Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
1966
Kunsthalle, Basel, Switzerland
1965–1966
Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany
1961
Schloss Gottorff, Schleswig, Germany
1957
Galerie für Moderne Kunst, Hannover, Germany