Horst Janssen





Woman Looking Out
(Gesche Irgenduo Hier En Der Gegen)   

Signed by Artist


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Horst Janssen was one of the most distinguished German artists to emerge from the postwar period. His work included printmaking, poster art and illustration, but worked in other media. Born in Hamburg in 1929, he spent his childhood in Oldenburg with adoptive grandfather. After the death of his grandfather in 1939 and the death of his mother in 1941, Janssen was raised in the National Political Institute of Education in Haselünne in the Emsland. Upon his return to Hamburg in 1945, he studied at the State School of Art from 1946 to 1951 under Alfred Mahlau. Through his teacher, Janssen found employment at the colored paper factory of Guido Dessauer in Aschaffenburg, where he worked from 1952 to 1956.

In addition to his portraits in oil, Janssen was notable for work with ceramic objects, but his primary contribution was in printmaking, learned in the factory’s lithographic workshop. Janssen made large format woodcuts in colors in 1957/58, in a partly expressionist, partly surreal style. These works became Janssen’s first success as an artist and enabled him to support himself.

Horst Janssen was taught the technique of etching by Paul Wunderlich, which later became his primary means of artistic expression. His etchings show a great love for detail, with subject matter including the depiction of erotic fantasies. By 1963 Janssen began to make use of drawing techniques as a means of expressing his subtle and striking ideas, along with the development of numerous self-portraits. Horst Janssen’s graphic oeuvre comprises some 4.000 sheets and 47 series of etchings. He died in Hamburg in 1995. The Hamburg Kunsthalle has established a Janssen archives in 1997, exhibiting printed works from the collection of Janssen’s printer Hartmut Frielingshaus. The Janssen museum opened in Oldenburg in 2000.