Bernd Kroeber Biography

Bernd Kroeber




Printmaker Bernd Kroeber was born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1942. At a very young age he spent 18 months at the Ecole d'Humanite, Switzerland studying under famed education pioneer Paul Geheeb. This was followed by enrollment at the French Gymnasium in Berlin from 1954-1956, and in Abitur, where he received his Junior College degree in 1962. He continued his studies at the Art-Academy Berlin in 1963 with Professor Hans Jenisch, and befriended painter Julius Bissier and art historian Hans Hess. His artistic success as a painter led him to participate in college and university theater, where he designed stage sets and props, as well playwriting for puppet theater.

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

The early 1970s marked a change in Kroeber's career, shifting from a burgeoning, experimental exhibiting artist to a family man, marrying Jean Santilhano in 1972 and having their first child. He closed his gallery and moved his workshop to storage halls at the port of San Francisco, renaming it Editions Ashbury. Though he continued to show his work in special exhibits and participated in art fairs, he also accepted teaching contracts with universities and museums. It was at this time that he also began working as a book illustrator.

From 1975 to1979 he made two major trips to the USSR and central Asia where he held frequent shows of monoprints and collages, and he established a name for himself in art and book fairs across America and Europe. From 1980 to 1984 he often visited the Sonoma coast of Northern California and traveled from Washington state to Oregon, and then western Canada, where he was met with opportunities to work in theater as a set designer. He often volunteered to introduce German, Swiss, and French artists and delegates to various important people and institutions in the U.S., becoming a kind of ambassador for the California and West Coast arts scene. This taste of international engagement prompted his move back to Germany with his family and printing press in 1985. He started in Odenwald, south of Frankfurt, and moved to a small town of Huttenfeld 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 conversion of an old mill into a workshop, housing academics and holding numerous courses 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 oil paintings and sculptures. He continues to work and exhibit in Germany.

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