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Basic Data

The German artist Horst Janssen is considered one of the most important graphic artists and draftsmen of the 20th century. In his extensive graphic oeuvre, the artist deals with topics such as death, women or eroticism and reflects himself in addition in his numerous self-portraits.

  • Born: 14 November 1929
  • Place of birth: Hamburg, Germany
  • Died on: 31 August 1995
  • Nationality: German
  • Studied at: Landeskunstschule Hamburg
  • Teachers: Alfred Mahlau
  • Era: contemporary art




Horst Janssen for sale

Are you interested in the art of Horst Janssen? You can find our selection of original prints by the artist under Horst Janssen artworks and editions.


Prints by Horst Janssen

Horst Janssen is today one of the most important draftsmen and graphic artists of the post-war period. In large production he made a variety of drawings, gouaches, watercolors woodcuts, etchings and lithographs. The artist received significant awards for his graphic work. Among them the first prize of graphic arts of the Venice Biennale in 1968.

Already in the 1940s Janssen experimented with monotypes and woodcuts. It was mainly artists such as Paul Klee or Edvard Munch who served as models for his artworks and editions. Thematically, he mostly depicted human and animal scenes. In the following years, Janssen not only produced his first works on paper, but also learned the technique of lithography in the workshop of the Buntpapierfabrik. This enabled him to finally establish himself as a successful graphic artist in the mid-1950s. During this creative phase, he produced large-format color woodcuts with a partly expressionistic whimsicality that made him known far beyond the regional framework of Hamburg. Through the artist Paul Wunderlich, Janssen finally also became acquainted with the technique of etching, which he soon mastered with virtuosity. From the 1960s on, Janssen increasingly used the medium of drawing, in which he was able to express his ideas impressively and subtly. For the artist, drawing was not a preparation for a later work, but an autonomous work.

Horst Janssen left his posterity an extensive oeuvre of prints. In our art store you can currently find etchings and woodcuts by the artist, all signed by hand and published in an edition of 22 to 100 copies.


Etchings by Horst Janssen

You will find in our portfolio of Horst Janssen seven original etchings by the artist. Etching was a preferred printing technique for Janssen, accounting for a large part of his oeuvre, which includes a total of about 4000 sheets as well as 47 etching cycles.

Janssen's works often focused on self-portraits. The artist dealt with this genre in an almost obsessive manner. As in the handsigned and numbered Horst Janssen Still Life Allüre from 1970, the artist also devotes himself in his etchings to objects and the banal things of everyday life, which in his prints often take on surprising, new perspectives and develop a fascinating intrinsic value.However, depictions of people and landscapes are also central to Janssen's artworks and editions. Like the 29.5 x 37 cm Horst Janssen print Fels und Wurm (Rock and Worm), which shows a view of a wooded landscape in which you can make out three figures cloaked in long capes. In addition, you will find next to the abstract work entitled Komposition from 1972, the print Brachial as well as the Horst Janssen etching Fünf Langenhorner Strickjacken.


Other original drawings, watercolors, woodcutsand prints by Horst Janssen

Are you interested in other artistic works by the german artist Horst Janssen? Feel free to contact us so that we can research other works for you.

Horst Janssen prices

Artist: Title: Price: Type: Size: Edition: Handsigned: Numbered: Date:
Horst Janssen Fünf Langenhorner Strickjacken 1100 Euro Original print 75.7  x 21.4 in   yes no 02.07.2019
Horst Janssen Allüre 450 Euro Original print 9.84 x 13.07 in  limited edition of 22 yes yes 02.07.2019
Horst Janssen Fels und Wurm 590 Euro Original print 18.3 x 11.8 in  limited edition of 22 yes yes 02.07.2019
Horst Janssen Komposition 295 Euro Original print 18.3 x 11.8 in  limited edition of 50 yes yes 02.07.2019
Horst Janssen Brachial 290 Euro Original print 11.2 x 12.8 in   yes no 02.07.2019



Horst Janssen was born in Hamburg in 1929 as an illegitimate child and spent his childhood in Oldenburg. After the death of his grandfather and mother, he was orphaned and placed in the care of his aunt, who adopted him. Janssen's artistic talent became apparent at an early age. His aunt's financial support and encouragement enabled him to study at the Landeskunstschule am Lerchenfeld from 1946 to 1951. There he was a master student of Alfred Mahlau in the class for free and applied graphics. Mahlau arranged several smaller commissions for Janssen, which enabled him to publish his first drawings. After a falling out with the director of the Landeskunstschule, however, he left the training school without graduating. At the age of 23, the artist also received the Lichtwark scholarship in 1952. The young Janssen also attracted the interest of the art scene through self-organized "staircase exhibitions". 

In 1956, his first public exhibition took place at the Brockstedt Gallery in Hanover. His artistic breakthrough was an exhibition at the Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover in 1965, which subsequently traveled to various major cities throughout Germany. Another milestone in his career was his award of the First Prize for Graphic Art at the Venice Biennale in 1968. In the 1980s, the graphic artist also achieved his international breakthrough. This was followed by exhibitions in Paris, Oslo, Moscow, Tokyo and in America.

In addition to his work as a graphic artist and draftsman, it was also his turbulent private life that raised his profile. He thus corresponded to the figure of a self-destructive and eccentric genius cultivated in the post-war period. An image that the artist also staged and used consciously.

In 1990, an incisive event followed in the life of the graphic artist. Janssen fell from the balcony of his house in Hamburg-Blankenese, along with the acid he used for his etchings. In addition to various broken bones, he was also threatened with blindness. Only after several months was he able to recover from the serious accident. In 1992 he was honored with the honorary citizenship of the city of Oldenburg. In 1995, the artist died of a stroke and was buried at his own request in the Getrudenkirchhof in Oldenburg.

Two years later, the Hamburg Kunsthalle establishes the Janssen Cabinet. In 2000, the Horst Janssen Museum was opened in Oldenburg, whose collection includes a large body of original works. All in all, the North German artist left behind a multifaceted oeuvre of around 20000 drawings, 3000 etchings, and an extensive body of published work, with which he left a lasting mark on the Hamburg art scene of the 1960s and subsequent generations of artists.



  • 24.09.2021 – 30.01.2022 Sammlung Miessl - Stadtgalerie Klagenfurt.
  • 05.06.2021 - 10.10.2021 Wi(e)der das Böse. Annäherungen an das Unerklärliche – Bomann-Museum, Celle.
  • 31.03.2020 - 21.04.2020 20. Benefizauktion zeitgenössischer Kunst – Palais Dorotheum, Vienna.
  • 22.02.2020 - 22.03.2020 „…weggenommen, was zu sehen sein soll“ – Kunstverein Bad Salzdetfurth e.V., Bodenburg.
  • 18.10.2019 - 17.11.2019 POSTCARD RELOADED - Kunstraum Potsdam c/o Waschhaus.
  • 30.09.2018 – 16.12.2018 Ich und mein Selfie – Kunsthaus Apolda, Apolda.
  • 28.01.2018 - 08.04.2018 schwarz weiß - Städtische Galerie im Park, Viersen.
  • 16.09.2017 - 04.02.2018 Auf unbekanntem Terrain. Landschaft in der Kunst nach 1945 - Museum für Aktuelle Kunst - Sammlung Hurrle, Durbach.
  • 30.01.2016 - 03.04.2016 Takashi Murakami's Superflat Collection - Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama.
  • 26.01.2013 - 14.04.2013 A World of Wild Doubt - Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg.
  • 05.05.2012 - 31.07.2012 Horst Janssen. Zeichnungen - Galerie Brockstedt Berlin, Berlin.
  • 14.03.2012 - 09.07.2012 Exquisite Corpses. Drawing and Disfiguration - MOMA The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • 28.11.2010 - 13.02.2011 Horst Janssen - SPIEL MIT DER MEISTERSCHAFT - Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig.
  • 31.03.2010 - 12.07.2010 15 Hauptwerke und Zeichnungen nach 1945 - Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.
  • 13.11.2009 - 11.04.2010 Horst Janssen - Kunst der Freundschaft Gute und böse Blätter - Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg.
  • 30.08.2009 - 15.11.2009 Horst Janssen Die Retrospektive zum 80. Geburtstag - Horst-Janssen-Museum, Oldenburg.



  • 1992: Honorary citizen of the city of Oldenburg.
  • 1990: Oldenburg-Prize.
  • 1989: Graphic Prize of the Griffelkunstmitglieder, Hamburg.
  • 1975: Schillerprize, Mannheim.
  • 1968: Graphic Prize of the 34th Biennale, Venice.
  • 1965: Edwin-Scharff-Prize, Hamburg.
  • 1964: Artprize, Darmstadt.
  • 1952: Lichtwark-Stipendium, Hamburg.



  • Horst Janssen – Ich bin die Gnade Gottes Documentation by Bernd Boehm and Hinrich Lührs, 26 min. (arte), 50 min. (NDR), Germany 2014.
  • Janssen: Ego, Documentation by Peter Voss-Andreae, 118 min., Germany 1989.
  • Das Porträt Horst Janssen, Documentation by Thomas Ayck, 42 min. Germany 1982.



  • Horst Janssen – Ein Leben, Henning Albrecht, Hamburg 2016.
  • Horst Janssen als Angeber X – Flegeleien und Verneigungen, exhibtion catalog, Horst-Janssen-Museum (Publ.), Oldenburg 2012.
  • Graphische Naturgewalten – Simon Prades trifft Horst Janssen, exhibtion catalog, Galerie Neosyne (Publ.), Trier 2011.
  • "Schon wieder Perlen!“ Horst Janssen Sammlung Meyer-Schomann, exhibtion catalog, Horst-Janssen-Museum (Publ.), Oldenburg 2008.
  • Die schreckliche Lust des Auges. Erinnerungen an Horst Janssen, Joachim Fest, Hamburg 2006.
  • Meisterzeichnungen Horst Janssen, Werner Hofmann, Hamburg 2005.
  • Diese gewisse Leichtigkeit. Horst Janssen und der »Mozart-Faktor«, Manfred Osten, Hamburg 2005.
  • Horst Janssen. Selbstbildnis von fremder Hand, Joachim Fest, Berlin 2001.


Own Writings

  • Flatter. Der Zyklus „Merlins Reise nach Wiedensahl“, Horst Janssen, Gifkendorf 2009.
  • "Ach, Liebste, flieg mir nicht weg. Briefe an Gesche“, Horst Janssen, Reinbek 2004.
  • Skandinavische Reise. Ein Skizzenbuch, ein Tagebuch und sechs Briefe an Joachim Fest, Horst Janssen, Berlin 2001.
  • Lamme, Horst Janssen, Hamburg 1994.
  • Bobethanien, Horst Janssen ,Hamburg 1991.
  • Drollerei, Horst Janssen, Hamburg 1991.
  • Fünf Tage und Nächte, Horst Janssen, Hamburg 1988.
  • Das Gertrudenformat. 7 booklets in potrait format with texts and pictures, Horst Janssen,  Hamburg 1984–1986.