Who is Frans Krajcberg? 

AN EMBLEMATIC ARTIST OF THE 20TH CENTURY 

Frans Krajcberg (1921-2017) is one of the greatest Brazilian artists of the 20th century. A sculptor, painter, photographer, fervent activist for the environmental cause, he passed away on November 15 2017, at the age of 96. 

Photo de Maurice Dubroca
Photo de Maurice Dubroca

Born in Poland in 1921 in a Jewish family, he lost everything during the war and emigrated to Brazil where,  fascinated by the natural richness of the fauna and flora, he settled down to create relentlessly until his death. 

Nevertheless, his ties with Paris remain very strong. He found refuge among the artists of Montparnasse. He started from there, pushed by Marc Chagall and Fernand Léger. He kept coming back to meet his friends and recharge his batteries, building over and over a bridge between Rio and Paris. 

All his life, Frans Krajcberg has put his art at the service of nature in order “to bring about a movement which mobilizes the expression of a planetary consciousness”.  

Calling for a “new ethic of artistic creation” he recalled that the artist, more than ever, “must be at the heart of any civilization project: fully and radically”.  

A STRONG ACTIVIST FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSE 

Frans Krajcberg is a key witness of the 20th century and an engaged actor in the great fight of the 21st century: the preservation of the planet.

His works are an alarm call for hope. Through them, he constantly denounces the plundering of natural resources by man, while illustrating the amazing capacity of Nature’s resilience. 

 

His sculptures and assemblages are made from wood “rescued” from the fires of the Amazon rainforest, bouquets of intertwined creepers, polychrome trunks or quartz ore…His paintings are imprints taken directly from the surrounding nature (sand , rocks ...), enhanced with natural pigments of Minas Gerais. Frans Krajcberg plays with the shadows and lights cast on his sculptures, which he loved to rework with the seasons. His work seems to pursue a never ending quest: to revive what is dead. 

Frans Krajcberg, Révolte III

Frans Krajcberg, "La Révolte III, 1994, burnt wood and natural pigments, 248 x 134 x 132 cm. Photo by Eric Sander.

In 1975, his exhibition at MAM Beaubourg confirmed Frans Krajcberg in his will to show the forgotten nature in order to denounce the threat of the urban extension of the third technological revolution. “I became aware that Art for the sake of Art was over and I want my sculptures to be  the witnesses of this disaster."

In 1976, Pierre Restany signed the Rio Negro Manifesto. It was written after a trip with Frans Krajcberg in Amazonia. It is a genuine plea in favor of committed art, calling on artists to renew their consciousness.  

In the 1985-the 90s, Frans Krajcberg witnessed the great fires ravaging the Brazilian forest. He denounced them through committed photographic reports, which caused him to be threatened with death. His friend and activist Chico Mendès was assassinated in 1988. 

 

The 1990s brought him the expected consecration, definitively associating the artist with the activist: Krajcberg multiplied successful exhibitions (Rio, Moscow, Paris ...) 

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In 2005, for the year of Brazil in France, a large exhibition in Bagatelle paid tribute to the artist and the activist. It was the opportunity for Frans Krajcberg to launch his “Cry for the planet”. 

  

In 2015, Frans Krajcberg and Espace Frans Krajcberg played a major role within the COP 21, by receiving Amerindian leaders. Espace Frans Krajcberg became a laboratory of ideas and exchanges, “an antenna of the Amazon in Paris”. 

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In 2016, Frans Krajcberg was the honorary artist of the São Paulo Biennale. 

  

In 2017, he was the first artist invited to the Musée de l’Homme in Paris as a whistleblower to address the essential question: “where are we going ?” 

1945 - Refugee Center, Stuttgart (Germany)

1951 - Domus Gallery, São Paulo 

1952 - Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo

1954 - Municipal Library of Curitiba, Curitiba

1955 - Hotel Monte Alegre, Monte Alegre

         - Small Gallery, Rio de Janeiro 

1956 - Gallery GEA, Rio de Janeiro

         - Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo  

1960 - Gallery of the XX Century, Paris  

          - Bonino Gallery, Rio de Janeiro 

1962 - Gallery Del Naviglio, Milan

          - Galeria 27, Oslo (Norway)

          - Gallery of the XX Century, Paris  

          - Small Gallery, Rio de Janeiro 

          - Gallery São Luís, São Paulo

1963 - Ivan Spence Gallery, Ibiza (Spain)

          - Casa do Brasil Gallery, Rome 

          - Gallery of Art of the House of Brazil, Rome 

1964 - Museum of Art of Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais

          - Paris (France) - Individuel, at the Gallery La Hune

          - Small Gallery, Rio de Janeiro 

          - Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro 

1965 - Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro

          - Museum of Fine Arts of Belo Horizonte

1966 - Gallery Debret, Paris 

          - Gallery J, Paris

          - Gallery Relevo, Rio de Janeiro

1967 - Galeria Querino, Salvador (Bahia)

          - Innien Gallery, Atlanta (USA)

1968 - Gallery Maywald, Paris 

          - Gallery Barcinski, Rio de Janeiro 

1969 - Philips Museum, Adenhauer (Netherlands) 

          - Jerusalem Museum of Art, Israel
         - Philips Museum, Adenhauer, Holland

1970 - Small Gallery, Rio de Janeiro

1972 - Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris

          - Gallery of Multiple Art, São Paulo - Best Exhibition Award

          - Ralph Camargo Gallery, São Paulo  

1973 - Gallerie du XX Siécle, Paris

          - Maison de France, Rio de Janeiro

1974 - Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro

1975 - Centre National d'Art Contemporain / Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

1976 - Cultural Foundation of the Federal District, (Brazil)

          - Musée National des Beaux-Arts, Caen 

          - Arte Global Gallery, São Paulo

1978 - Homero Massena Gallery, Vitória

1979 - Skultura Galeria de Arte, São Paulo

1980 - Gallery Gravura Brasileira, Rio de Janeiro

          - The Small Gallery, Rio de Janeiro

1981 - Sala Miguel Bakun, Curitiba Paraná, (Brazil)

         - Solar do Rosário, Curitiba 

         - Galeria Jean Boghici, Rio de Janeiro

         - Galeria de Arte, São Paulo

1983 - Cupido Gallery, Stockholm (Sweden)

1984 - Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro

1986 - Arte Galeria, Fortaleza 

          - Charles Sablon Gallery, Paris

          - Thomas Cohn Gallery, Rio de Janeiro

          - Small Gallery, Rio de Janeiro

          - GB ARTe, Rio de Janeiro

          - Arco Gallery, São Paulo

1988 - Centre Culturel Boulogne Billencourt, Boulogne-sur-Mer

          - Usina Gallery, Vitória

1989 - Stahly Foundation, Crest

          - Thomas Cohn Gallery, Rio de Janeiro

          - Stahly Foundation, Crest, France

          - Thomas Cohn Gallery, Rio de Janeiro 

1990 - Gallery Sérgio Milliet, in Funarte, Rio de Janeiro

1992 - Gallery Thomas Cohn, Rio de Janeiro

         - Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro

          - Museum of Modern Art, Salvador, Bahia

          - Charles Sablon Gallery, Paris

1994 - Gallery Charles Sablon, Paris

1995 - Curitiba Art Museum and Botanical Garden, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

          - Casa França-Brasil Foundation, Rio de Janeiro

1996 - Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris

          - Itamaraty Palace, Brazil

2003 - Musée du Montparnasse, Paris
2005 - Exhibition "Dialogues avec la nature", Bagatelle, Paris (year of Brazil in France) 

2008 - Exhibition "Natura", OCA Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo

2011 - Palacete Das Artes Rodin, Bahia.

         - Museum of Contemporary Art of Niterói on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Museum, Niterói, 

 Rio de Janeiro

2012 - Museum Estação Cabo Branco, João Pessoa, Paraíba

2016 - "Frans Kracjberg, un artiste en résistance", Musée de l'Homme, Paris

2017 - Frente Gallery, "Frans Krajcberg - A Tribute" Sao Paulo, Brazil.

2018 - Casa Museu Eva Klabin, "Breathing Krajcberg", Rio de Janeiro

          - Afro Brasil Museum, "A Frans, Nature - Exhibition in memory of Krajcberg", Sao Paulo

          - Paulo Kucznyski Art Office, "Nature as a workshop", Sao Paulo, Brazil

2003-2018 - Marcia Barrozo do Amaral Gallery, Rio de Janeiro. 

2005-2020 - Espace Frans Krajcberg, Center d'art contemporain Art & Nature, Paris

1ª_Esculturas_que_nasceram_em_Minas_Ger

Frans Krajcberg, first sculptures that were born in Minas Gerais, Brazil.