Michael Croissant

Work

Text

Since 2011, Galerie Fred Jahn has worked directly with the estate of the German sculptor Michael Croissant. Galerie Jahn und Jahn was established in spring 2017 and since then the artist has been jointly represented. Born in 1928 in Landau in the Palatinate region of Germany, Croissant later spent a large part of his life in the Bavarian capital of Munich, where he died in 2002.

Before Croissant arrived at his typical, geometrically reduced formal language in the mid-seventies, he was ostensibly influenced by Art Informel. Even though this term presents a problematic categorisation of his earlier sculptural works, which were often based on forms from nature transformed into amorphous structures, a better description of his style in this period refuses to be found.

Thematically, the artist devoted this ‘informel’ phase from the fifties until the early seventies to forms from nature and the human figure in the widest sense, sometimes against the backdrop of mythology, such as in the works on Ganymede and Laocoön. Croissant’s depictions of insects, sea creatures and animal skulls represent another important set of themes. Cast in bronze, surfaces extremely rugged, matte, and dark; they reveal their specific, raw materiality. Furrowed outer skin and the ability to see them from all angles advance the secret of their effect through the play between light and shadow.
The artist achieves similar results in his drawings, where expressive hatching marks – often done with graphite – are condensed into contrasting frameworks. Light and shadow, content and void, reduction and abundance are only some of the terms Croissant uses to explore the possibilities of creating a tense balance between formal reduction and spiritual agglomeration.

From the 1970s on, Michael Croissant’s style changed radically in so much as he began concentrating on the most essential manifestations of the body, representing it using a repertoire of geometric forms. Any unevenness that had previously produced a play of shadows and drawn focus was eliminated. Surfaces are smooth, only interrupted by welding marks in the bronze sculptures, or by the juxtaposition of individual elements. With this forced arrangement, the artist counteracts abstraction, so that these individual elements are legible as parts of the body. In his collages and works on paper, made parallel to his sculptural works, he approached this through drawing and produced a comprehensive oeuvre. In order to show the close relationship between his works on paper and the sculptural pieces, he often chose to display them together in exhibitions.

Vita

1928

Michael Croissant is born on 7th Mai in Landau in der Pfalz

1942

Begins an apprenticeship as mason

1943—1945

Attends the Schule des deutschen Kunsthandwerks (School of German Craftsmanship) in Kaiserslautern

1946—1948

Attends a private school of arts in Munich

1948—1953

Studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, Munich

1955

Fellowship of the Kulturkreis im Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie

1962

Receives the art award of the city of Darmstadt

1964

Art Award of the cultural department of the City of Munich

1966

Receives the Hans Purrmann Award

1966—1988

Michael Croissant teaches as a professor at the Städel School in Frankfurt am Main

1972

He becomes a member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste in Munich

He is also member of the Darmstadt Secession

1978

Receives the art prize of the state Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate)

1993

He is awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse (1st Class Federal Cross)

2002

Michael Croissant dies on 21st September in Munich

Selected Solo Shows

2018

Skulpturen und Zeichnungen – Galerie Maier, Innsbruck

2015

Michael Croissant. Frühe Bronzen und Zeichnungen – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

Galerie Maier, Innsbruck

2013

Michael Croissant. Arbeiten auf Papier und Skulpturen – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

2012

Michael Croissant. Arbeiten auf Papier der 1960er und 1970er Jahre – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich (in our space in Residenzstraße 1)

2011

Michael Croissant. Zeichnung und Plastik – Museum Moderner Kunst Wörlen, Passau

Galerie Biedermann, Munich

Galerie Ohse, Bremen

2009

Galerie Rothe, Frankfurt am Main

Karl & Faber, Munich, in cooperation with Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

2006

Michael Croissant. Skulpturen und Zeichnungen aus dem bisher nicht gezeigten Nachlaß des Künstlers – Galerie Orangerie-Reinz, Cologne

Michael Croissant. Skulpturen, Collagen und Zeichnungen – Galerie Koch, Hanover

2005

Michael Croissant. Köpfe 1950–2002 – Museum Lothar Fischer, Neumarkt i. d. OPf.

2004

Rathausgalerie, Munich

Galerie Meyer-Ellinger, Frankfurt am Main

Michael Croissant. Skulpturen – Galerie Orangerie-Reinz, Cologne

Galerie Ohse, Bremen

2003

Michael Croissant (1928–2002) – Georg-Kolbe-Museum, Berlin

2002

Galerie Appel, Frankfurt am Main

Michael Croissant. Plastiken, Zeichnungen, Collagen – Galerie Biedermann, Munich

2001

Galerie Wack, Kaiserslautern

2000

Im Dialog I - Michael Croissant – Darmstädter Stadtkirche

1996

Michael Croissant. Skulpturen – Galerie Orangerie-Reinz, Cologne

Galerie Valentin, Stuttgart

1995

Galerie Biedermann, Munich

Kunstverein Ludwigshafen

1994

Michael Croissant. Skulpturen – Galerie Orangerie-Reinz, Cologne

1991

Kunstverein München, Munich

Galerie Ohse, Bremen

1990

Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main

Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern

Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl

Kunstverein Ludwigshafen

Galerie Wack, Kaiserslautern

1988

Galerie Biedermann, Munich

Maramatsu Gallery, Tokyo

Galerie Pels-Leusden, Berlin

Galerie Rothe, Heidelberg

1984

Galerie Biedermann, Munich

Galerie Wentzel, Cologne

1982

Galerie Ohse, Bremen

Michael Croissant. Plastiken und Zeichnungen – Kunstverein Bremerhaven

Kunstverein Ludwigshafen

1979

Galerie Biedermann, Munich

1978

Landesmuseum Kassel, Neue Galerie, Kassel

1977

Galerie Marion Grcic-Ziersch, Wuppertal

Galerie Rothe, Heidelberg

1974

Galerie Günther Franke, Munich

1972

Städtisches Museum Simeonstift, Trier

1965

Galerie Appel und Fertsch, Frankfurt am Main

1964

Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Darmstadt

1963

Galerie Günther Franke, Munich