Bernd Kroeber Biography

Bernd Kroeber

American born Germany



Bernd Kroeber was born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1942. At a very young age Kroeber spent 18 months at the Ecole d'Humanite, Switzerland studying under a famous educator, Paul Geheeb. He flourished under many educational institutions as he attended the French Gymnasium in Berlin from 1954-1956, and in Abitur (Junior College degree) in 1962. He continued his studies at the Art-Academy Berlin in 1963 with Professor Hans Jenisch. Kroeber became acquainted with Julius Bissier, and an art historian Hans Hess. His artistic success as a painter led him to participate in college and university theatre where he wrote scripts for puppet plays, and created stage decorations.

In 1966, as a networker, and a man of ambition, Kroeber debuted his first experiments with collage and blockprinting techniques at his one-man shows in Germany and Switzerland. Around 1967 Bernd Kroeber embarked on a journey to a distant country, United States to further his knowledge and skill in printing. He stayed in New York City briefly, and then traveled across the country to Northern California where he set up a gallery workshop, OTA Gallery in San Francisco. From 1968-1969 he produced his first multi color monoprints after traveling all over the western states, including Nevada and Arizona.

The early 1970s marked a change in Kroeber's career, shifting from a young and excited exhibiting artist to a man with responsibilities after marrying Jean Santilhano in 1972. He closed his gallery in and moved his workshop to storage halls at the port of San Francisco, where it is now called "Editions Ashbury". Though he continued to show his work in special exhibits and participated in art fairs, he was offered teaching contracts with Universities and museums.  From 1975-1979 he made two major trips to the USSR and central Asia where he held frequent shows of monoprints and collages. He claimed a name for himself in art and book fairs across America and Europe, and from 1980-1984 he often visited the Northern Sonoma coast. He traveled from Washington state, to Oregon, and western Canada where he met with his interest for plays and stage sets. Not only did he begin to illustrate for books, but he also became an international figure who interepreted and escorted for the German, Swiss, and French delegations. This taste of international engagements preceded his move back to Germany with his whole family and printing press in 1985. He started in Odenwald, south of Frankfurt, and moved to a small town of Huttenfled in 1987.

Even though Kroeber experienced many shifts in his career and life, he never turned away from his passion to teach. From 1987-1992 he began the gradual reconstruction of an old mill-building to house numerous courses, academics, and special projects for schools. In his more recent years (1992-2000) he organized custom art courses for advanced teacher's training in Hessen and Lower Saxony to work with large sized oil paintings and sculptures. His modern work is entailed with "crated collages" that are sunk into framed glass cases. His recent taste for colorful and abstract collages seem to be influenced by mountainous curves and depth an intriguing humor to present a harmonious union.

Source: Bernd Kroeber, "Bernd Kroeber: Monoprints Collagen, 1996-2001", DAI Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut Heidelberg & Aventis Pasteur MSD, Leimen.