Christine Jackob-Marks was born in Mainz/Germany. She lives and works as a painter in Berlin and at Ibiza.
Born and brought up in Mainz, Christine Jackob decided at the age of seventeen to go
to London, with the intention of applying to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art to
study drama. Her application was narrowly turned down, though with an explicit
invitation to try again in the coming year. However, having been torn between drama
and painting, she decided to pursue the latter. London seemed the perfect place: she
was thrilled to discover the work of such a wide range of artists, paying visits to the
National Gallery to admire the paintings of the Impressionists and the Old Masters.
After a short time, though, Christine moved to Paris, which was still widely considered
the city of nineteenth- and twentieth-century arts. On a recommendation, she enrolled
for the classes of Ives Breyer, a well-known French painter of the time, at the Académie
de la Grande Chaumière, one of the oldest art academies in Paris. It was here that
Christine made her first oil paintings from life models, which appealed to her interest in
humanity more than landscape painting did at that time. During this period, she threw
herself into life in Paris, participating in exhibitions and making frequent visits to the
Louvre to study the great works there. According to the artist, the exhibition of
Matisse’s late figure paintings was especially memorable and Modigliani’s work, his
style of painting the figure in a reduced and austere style, influenced her. Two paintings
remain from this period, both of them nudes: a reclining nude, and female figure sitting,
both paying attention to the elegant voluptuous bodies of her models.
This period of around eighteen-months in Paris preceded a return to Germany, where
Christine had initially applied to study at the well-known Munich Academy of Fine Arts.
However, a German painter to whom she had been introduced in the meantime
recommended that she studied at the Berlin Art Academy (Hochschule der Künste
Berlin, now the Universität der Künste Berlin or UdK). There, Christine met with the first
year painting professor, Hans Jaenisch. On his recommendation, she applied and sat
the examination, and an offer of a place to study ne art followed. Post-war Berlin
fascinated the artist: it was broken, but appeared both decrepit and reborn. Berlin was
opening up again following its traumatic period of Nazism and defeat in the war. It was
where many young men had arrived in order to avoid military service, and the city,
overseen by the allied forces of France, Russia, Great Britain, and the United States, was
much more open-minded than other German cities.
In this environment, Christine acquired artistic skill and became part of the clique of
students. She remembers exhibitions held at well-known galleries, for example at the
Galerie Rosen and Galerie Bassenge in West Berlin, and meeting the gallery owner
René Block who presented the more experimental artists, notably the work of Joseph
In 1960, Christine met a student of architecture, Volker Theissen, whom she married not
long after; they had their first child, Anna Jessica, and in 1964 their son Jan-Felix. Torn
between her studies and family responsibilities, she decided to give up painting and
instead took classes in the applied arts with Professor Hartmann.
It was at this time that Christine was introduced to the well-known American
photographer Will McBride, who had come to Berlin in the mid-1950s. McBride became
part of the clique to which Christine belonged, his Leica camera being his constant
companion to capture “life simmering between urban ruins”; for example, the
impromptu parties, such as that captured in the 1959 photograph Riverboat Shuffle.
She recalls vividly how they would drive in a horse- drawn carriage through the city,
dance, and enjoy life; how he was “always there,” photographing what was happening
Needing to earn some money, Christine joined a Berlin-based design studio. Looking
back at this time today, she recalls that it took a combination of discipline and freedom
to develop designs for fabric and wallpaper. At the time, the techniques applied were
rather simple, as there were no digital tools available, no computer screen. Motifs were
drawn with Indian ink or painted, often waxed, and finally scraped out.
However, then, a movement occurred that gave her life another turn: The time of the
“student revolution,” which began in the mid-1960, sweeping across Europe and the
United States, was a period of politicization for Jackob. Berlin was insular in many ways,
overshadowed by its past: a Nazi past that her generation wanted to change. She
attended sit-ins and demonstrations against the Vietnam War and other protests against
world events. She became part of a political Agitprop street-theater troupe, which
performed all over the city as well as at the factory gates, and for which she painted
sets and took on acting parts. The artist, actor, and theater director Günter Meisner,
allowed the troupe to use his gallery the Diogenes for rehearsals, a venue much
admired for its choice of artists in the early 1960s, which included Heinz Mack, Günther
Uecker, Otto Piene, and Yves Klein.
In the house that Christine and her husband bought in Berlin, they began to rent out
the top floor to the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the German Academic Exchange Service
(Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD). Artists, such as Lawrence Weiner, Franz
Gertsch, and Roman Opalka, stayed at the house at di erent times in the late 1960s.
Gertsch’s photo- realism fascinated Christine, but at the same time she re- sponded to
the radiating power in the paintings of Markus Lüpertz, who was a friend, and whose
work was bought by her then-husband Theissen.
The question of “how to change society” remained important for Christine. Reflecting
on the period, she considered that painting was not the answer: change, she decided,
should happen “from below” through and with working with children, and so she
studied educational science and then worked as a therapist for children with behavioral
difficulties, and their parents. It was here that she met the young child, Mine, whom she
and her second husband Alan Marks later adopted.
In spite of all these things happening, Jackob felt the need to paint again, and enrolled
with a painting group that offered life drawing and still life classes. She had drawn and
painted portraits and still life with egg tempera earlier in her career and it was now that
she began to paint en plein air, that is, she began to discover landscape painting.
The experience made an impression on her to the extent that she felt drawn to her
roots, to “paint, paint, paint.” Moreover, the art scene—that included for example
Gerhard Richter, Otto Piene, Emil Schumacher, and Anselm Kiefer, as well
as drawing inspiration from the works of Paul Cézanne and Gustave Courbet among
many others, and together with the major 1982 exhibition Zeitgeist at the Martin-
Gropius-Bau— unconsciously dragged her back to the impressions around her and
inspired her return to painting. She was influenced for example by the 1991
international art exhibition, Metropolis, held in Berlin, but also by life around her,
people, animals, and the landscape. Christine has constantly explored technique in a
series of simple drawings and with paint on canvas, which sometimes seem constructed
out of a sea of pure color: vivid reds, yellow, somber blues, from which forms emerge
and merge into the ground.
In the early 1980s, having divorced Volker Theissen, Christine met and married her
second husband the musician and solo pianist Alan Marks. Now, with revived strength
and inspiration to paint, she returned to figurative painting. She picked up where she
had left o and developed some of her early paintings of 1958, a series of female figures
that she now reworked by applying black to the background around the figure; the
result a reduction of color and dramatic presentations of the human figure.
In 1984, Christine held her first exhibition of primarily still life paintings, but also
exhibited three gravestone paintings that contained the Hebrew inscription “Their souls
remain among us.” Now married to Alan Marks, an American of Jewish de- scent, the
crimes of the Nazi era confronted her once again. Among other exhibitions, Christine
presented one in 1988 at the Galerie am Savignyplatz in Berlin, showing her paintings
and work on paper as well as a few figurative pieces, but notably a range of landscapes
of the Negev desert in Israel—which she had recently visited with her husband—and
landscapes around the Schlachtensee, in Berlin. Since this time, she has exhibited her
In the works of 2001, it is notable that the landscapes have become more subdued;
they are calmer, and organized more by the line and form that she sees. In 2005 she
painted a series of relatively large canvases of flowers in full, vivid color, alongside other
paintings of clusters of trees that drew on the environment of Ibiza, her second home.
They express Chris- tine’s engagement with the once-volcanic, rocky landscape of Ibiza
and recall the imagined cosmos and alchemical forces of which we all are a small part.
Other works on canvas show nude figures, reduced, gestural in their pose, stark in their
presentation against a monochrome background, and which as Mark Gisbourne notes,
point to her time in Paris and the influence of Matisse’s Cut-Outs. Since 2008, Christine
has focused on making drawings and paintings that show both landscapes and
animals—genial portraits of the animal kingdom: elephants, apes, and horses, bulls,
whales, and of course the dogs that have been her constant companions over the years.
Christine Jackob-Marks has never stopped exploring art, seeking deeper understanding
of the world around her through drawing and painting.
The artist is represented in Berlin by the Galerie DNA Berlin.
Artistic Curriculum Vitae
- 1959-60 Académie de la grande Chaumière, Paris
- 1960-64 Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Berlin, Studium bei Prof. Jaenisch, Prof. Janssen und Prof. Hartmann
- 1964-70 Design Studio Berlin
- 1973-79 Freie Universität Berlin, Studium der Erziehungswissenschaften
- 1979-87 Mitarbeit im Jugendpsychatrischen Dienst, Zehlendorf
- 1990-92 Dozentin Hochschule der Künste,Berlin
- 1992-93 Dozentin Thüringische Sommerakademie.
- 1995 Erster Price “Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden in Europa”Seit 1998 regelmäßig Ausstellungen im In-und Ausland.
- Solo shows
Christine Jackob-Marks – Es muß im Leben mehr als Alles geben – DNA, Berlin
Christine Jackob-Marks – Landschaftsansichten – Galerie im Körnerpark, Berlin
Tiere – Galerie im Körnerpark, Berlin
Christine Jackob-marks – Kunststiftung Poll, Berlin
Tiere und Landschaften – Galerie Poll, Berlin
Erd-Wandlungen – Christine Jackob-Marks – Galerie Poll, Berlin
Es werde Licht – Galerie im Körnerpark, Berlin
Herbstsalon – Galerie am Savignyplatz, Berlin
Berliner Kabinett – Zeichnungen (III) – Galerie im Turm, Berlin
Literature / Catalogues
- Christine Jackob-Marks 2016 – Monographic Catalogue: Es muss im Leben mehr als alles geben
- Christine Jackob-Marks – Tiere und Landschaften 2006⁄2008
- Christine Jackob-Marks 2003⁄2004
- Christine Jackob-Marks – Erdwanderungen 2000⁄2001
- Christine Jackob-Marks 1998⁄1999
- Christine Jackob-Marks 1996⁄1997
- Christine Jackob-Marks – Zeichnungen 1991⁄1992
- Bilder 1991⁄1992
- Bilder 1992⁄1993
- Bilder 1994⁄1995
- Christine Jackob-Marks – Bilder und Zeichnungen 1988⁄1990
Image caption: Christine Jackob-Marks 1960, Will McBride