Robert Gernhardt

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Robert Gernhardt at a reading in the Evangelical Monastery of Tübingen (2001)

Robert Johann Arthur Gernhardt (born December 13, 1937 in Tallinn , Estonia , † June 30, 2006 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German writer , poet , draftsman and painter .


Grave of Almut and Robert Gernhardt in the main cemetery in Frankfurt am Main

Robert Gernhardt was born the son of a judge and a chemist in Reval . The Gernhardt family belonged to the Baltic German minority in Estonia and had to move to Posen in 1939 .

In 1945 his father died as a soldier in World War II . After the end of the war, the mother fled with the sons Robert, Per and Andreas via Thuringia to Bissendorf . In 1946 the family came to Göttingen . After completing his school education in 1956, Gernhardt studied painting at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart and the Academy of Arts in Berlin as well as German at the Free University of Berlin . From 1964 he lived as a freelance painter, draftsman, caricaturist and writer in Frankfurt am Main. In 1972 he bought an old building in the Arezzo area in Tuscany , where he spent a lot of time from then on. In 1965 he married the painter Almut Ullrich , who died in 1989. In 1990 Gernhardt entered into a second marriage with Almut Gehebe . In 1996 he had to undergo serious heart surgery. Gernhardt was a scholarship holder at the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin in 1999/2000 and spent a short time in 2006 as a resident author at the University of Warwick in England. On June 30, 2006, he succumbed to colon cancer in Frankfurt , which he had known about since July 2002. He was buried in the main cemetery in Frankfurt .


From April 1964 to December 1965 Gernhardt was the editor of the satirical magazine Pardon , where in 1964 he was one of the co-founders of the nonsense supplement Welt im Spiegel , which appeared until 1976 and which significantly and significantly influenced newer humorous literature. Gernhardt had a number of exhibitions and participations in exhibitions in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Basel and Regensburg, among others. He was a member of the German Association of Artists . Along with FW Bernstein , FK Waechter , Clovis Poth , Eckhard Henscheid , Bernd Eilert , Peter Knorr and Hans Traxler was he co-founded the New Frankfurt School whose publication listed in the Journal pardon the satire magazine Titanic was. In 1974, Hessischer Rundfunk ran six episodes of the radio show HELP, a satirical auxiliary magazine that was created in collaboration with Peter Knorr. From 1975 to 1978 8 episodes of the television program Dr. Muffels Telebrause , a comedy show by Robert Gernhardt, Bernd Eilert and Peter Knorr. In the 1980s, Gernhardt co-wrote various Otto shows with Eilert and Knorr under the acronym GEK Group . He also edited books by Otto Waalkes and was involved in the script of four "Otto films".

With Glück, Glanz, Ruhm (1983), Thoughts on the Poem (1990) and The Last Drawer (1999), Gernhardt emerged as an essayist.

Gernhardt had already published poems since the early 1980s ( Wörtersee , 1981) and was increasingly recognized by critics as an important poet in the course of the 1990s. Particularly noteworthy are the poetry volumes Soft Goals (1994), Heart in Need (1996), Lichte Gedichte (1997), Die K-Gedichte (2004) and Später Spagat (published posthumously in 2006).

Today he is considered one of the most important contemporary German-language poets. His work has developed from the nonsense verses and the humorous forms of the 1960s and 1970s to a versatile lyric poetry, which Gernhardt always added new tones. Gernhardt processed the accompanying circumstances of his heart operation in the poem cycle Herz in Not, which consists of 100 rhyming seven-line poems . He also wrote several poems about his fight with cancer from 2002, which represent the first part of the K poems . Since 2003, he read in the mission of the presses in the ARD regularly a time-critical sonnet . In the 2005/2006 winter semester, as a Heine visiting professor, he held the same lectures on poetry at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf that he had given five years earlier as part of the Frankfurt Poetics Lectures .

Gernhardt's estate is in the German Literature Archive in Marbach . From the 40,000-page records in the so-called "well" -Heften the band in 2011 was Toscana mia published containing a selection from Gern Hardt notes, verses and drawings until 2005, he in his house during the 1979 Tuscany to Brought paper.
Parts of the estate can be seen in the permanent exhibition of the Modern Literature Museum in Marbach.


Robert Gernhardt later commented on his use of pseudonyms while working on Welt im Spiegel (WimS):

“Group meetings in inns, outside of working hours, initially without any idea of ​​exploitation; During working hours we did all kinds of editorial work, we also scourged the grievances, Weigle as Hermann Rabe, FW Bernstein or Bernhard Schuster, I as Mr. Kin , Lützel Jeman , Paul H. Burg , Arthur Klett or Alfred Karch  ... is an important date then February 1970. From then on we did WimS on our own ... 1971 is another crucial date. Lützel Jeman gives up his pseudonym ... I then took it in a long, strategically broad transition process similar to that from Coca Cola to Coke from Lützel Jeman to Robert Jeman Gernhardt to Robert Gernhardt "

The narrators in his stories often have names like G or Norbert Gamsbart and are apparently based on the name of the author. With their help, Gernhardt was able to spread views that were essentially his own, but from which he could distance himself at any time by pointing out that it was not he, but his fictional character that had expressed them.

Hans Mentz is a collective pseudonym under which various authors write the column of humor criticism in the satirical magazine Titanic .

Robert Gernhardt Prize

In December 2008, donated Helaba in memory of Robert Gernhardt to the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art settled Robert Gernhardt Prize (now Robert Gernhardt price). It has been awarded annually to two Hessian authors since 2009 in order to support them in realizing a special literary project. The prize money for each winner is 12,000 euros.

Single title (selection)

  • The truth about Arnold Hau . With FW Bernstein and FK Waechter. Frankfurt am Main 1966.
  • I hear something you don't see. With pictures by Almut Gernhardt. Frankfurt am Main 1975.
  • With you we are four. With pictures by Almut Gernhardt. Frankfurt am Main 1976.
  • Harvested harvest. Poems from fifteen years. With FW Bernstein. Frankfurt am Main 1976.
  • The blouses of Bohemia . Two thousand and one, Frankfurt am Main 1977; from it u. a. also the story The Trap . Haffmans Verlag , Zurich 1993, ISBN 3-251-30029-6 .
  • What a day. Poem. Illustrated by Almut Gernhardt. Frankfurt am Main 1978.
  • World in the mirror. WimS 1964-1976 . With FW Bernstein and FK Waechter. Frankfurt 1979.
  • Halbritter's Book of Discoveries. (Texts for pictures by Kurt Halbritter ). Munich 1980.
  • The Magadascar trip. A report. Frankfurt am Main 1980.
  • Wörtersee. Poems. Frankfurt am Main 1981.
  • The three. With FW Bernstein and FK Waechter. Two thousand and one, Frankfurt am Main 1981.
  • I i i. Novel. Zurich 1982.
  • with Almut Gernhardt: The way through the wall: 13 adventurous stories. Insel, Frankfurt am Main 1982.
  • Happiness shine fame. Narration viewing report. Haffmans, Zurich 1983; Fischer (TB), Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-596-13399-8 .
  • Gernhardt's stories. Picture stories. 1983.
  • Extreme unction. Selected satires 1962–1984. Haffmans, Zurich 1984; Fischer (TB), Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-596-17913-8 .
  • Here is the poet speaking. 120 pictorial poems. Zurich 1985.
  • What remains. Thoughts on Literature. 1985.
  • Here is the poet speaking. Pictorial poems. 1985.
  • Schnuffi's all adventures. Picture stories. 1986.
  • The Toscana Therapy . Play. 1986.
  • Tilt figure. Haffmans, Zurich 1986, ISBN 3-251-00081-0 .
  • There is no real life in the valschen. Humoresques. 1987.
  • Body in cafes. Poems. 1987.
  • Inside and outside. Pictures, drawings, about painting. Haffmans, Zurich 1988, ISBN 3-251-00114-0 .
  • What is so funny about that? .... Critique of the comedians, criticism of the critics, criticism of the comedy. Essay. 1988.
  • with FW Bernstein: Hear, hear! - The WimS reading book. 1989. / Audiobook: Audiobuch Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3-89964-077-2 .
  • The Toscana Therapy. Radio play. DeutschlandRadio, 1989.
  • Thoughts on the poem. Haffmans, Zurich 1990.
  • Rhyme and time. Poems. Stuttgart 1990.
  • Lies and deceit. Stories. 1991.
  • Soft goals. Poems. 1994.
  • Above all. A reading and picture book. Haffmans Verlag, Zurich 1994; Fischer (TB), Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 3-596-12985-0 .
  • Easter story. Haffmans, Zurich 1995, ISBN 3-251-00274-0 .
  • Prose. Reclam, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-15-009385-6 .
  • Ways to fame. Haffmans, Zurich 1995; Fischer (TB), Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 3-596-13400-5 .
  • Poems 1954–1994. Zurich 1996.
  • Light poems. Haffmans, Zurich 1997, ISBN 3-251-00366-6 .
  • About the beautiful, the good, the bare. Picture stories and picture poems. Haffmans, Zurich 1997, ISBN 3-251-00356-9 .
  • The last draftsman. Essays on art and caricature. Haffmans, Zurich 1999; Fischer (TB), Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-596-14987-8 .
  • Our earth is perhaps a female: 99 Sudelblätter by Robert Gernhardt to 99 Sudel sayings by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg . Haffmans, Zurich 1999.
  • Speak in tongues. Voice imitations from God to Jandl. Frankfurt am Main 2000.
  • What your cat is really thinking. Heyne, 2000.
  • Rhyme and Time & Co. Poems Prose Cartoons. Reclam, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-15-050032-X , extended edition 2009, ISBN 978-3-15-018619-0
  • Berlin tens. Capital poems. Haffmans, Zurich 2001.
  • September book. Twenty pictures of ten poems. Haffmans, Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-251-00375-5 .
  • In luck and elsewhere. Poems. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-596-15751-X .
  • Heart in need. Poems. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-596-16072-3 .
  • The K poems . Poems. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-10-025507-0 .
  • The marginal figure cabinet of Doctor Thomas Mann. With Barbara Hoffmeister. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2005.
  • Collected poems. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-10-025506-2 .
  • Later splits. Poems. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-10-025509-7 .

Posthumous publications

  • Let’s think. Stories. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-10-025510-5 .
  • A good word is never given away - poems and stories by Robert Gernhardt. with pictures by Almut Gernhardt. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-85384-7 .
  • der ton im wörtersee , music: Anne Bärenz and Frank Wolff , Verlag Antje Kunstmann, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-88897-569-1
  • Lutz Hagestedt, Johannes Möller (ed.): What the poem can do: Everything. Texts on poetics. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-10-025504-4 .
    • Audio book from recordings: What the poem can do: Everything. 5 CDs. The Hörverlag, Munich, ISBN 978-3-86717-347-6 .
  • Kristina Maidt-Zinke (Ed.): Toscana Mia. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-10-025512-9 .
  • When beautiful women get up in the morning. A reading book with pictures by Rudi Hurzlmeier . Edition Büchergilde, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-940111-93-7 .
  • Kristina Maidt-Zinke (Ed.): Behind the curve. Travel 1978-2005. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-10-025513-6 (selection from Gernhardt's “Brunnen-Heften”).
  • Little Gernhardt. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2017 (notes from Gernhardt's “Brunnen-Heften”).

Translation of the works


  • One More Makes Four. 1978.


  • ミ ス タ ー ・ P の ふ し ぎ な 冒 険 ( Misutā-P-no-fushigi-na-bōken. ) 1993, ISBN 4-87576-754-4 .


  • Ik zie ik zie wat jij niet hoort . 1976.
  • How dit leest is het vierde beest. 1976.
  • Wat een dag! Een haal. 1978.
  • Het goedhartig varken. Divorced another. 1981.


  • Resan till America. 2001.




Films with and about Robert Gernhardt

Awards and honors

Frankfurt green armadillo on the
back of the mountain
Three Gernhardt ash trees with the green armadillo stele "Auf dem Wörth" in Nied, Frankfurt am Main

Literature about Gernhardt

  • Daniel Arnet: The anachronism of anarchic comedy: rhymes in the work of Robert Gernhardt . Dissertation . 1996.
  • Heinz Ludwig Arnold (Ed.): Robert Gernhardt. Collection of articles. (= Text and criticism, Zeitschrift für Literatur. Heft 136). Edition Text and Criticism, München 1997, ISBN 3-88377-563-0 .
  • Tobias Eilers: Robert Gernhardt: Theory and Poetry: Successful comic literature in its social and media context . Waxmann 2011, ISBN 978-3-8309-2556-9 .
  • Carola L. Gottzmann , Petra Hörner: Lexicon of the German-language literature of the Baltic States and St. Petersburg . De Gruyter, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-019338-1 , p. 459-468 .
  • Lutz Hagestedt (ed.): Everything about the artist. On the work of Robert Gernhardt. Collection of articles. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-596-15769-2 .
  • Kerstin Hoffmann-Monderkamp: Comedy and nonsense in the lyrical work of Robert Gernhardt: Approaches to a theory of literary high comedy . Dissertation. Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2001, ISBN 3-8311-2401-9 .
  • Peter Köhler: Nonsense. Theory and history of the literary genre. Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, Heidelberg 1989, ISBN 3-533-04111-5 .
  • Kristian Maidt-Zinke: Tilting Figures. Robert Gerhardts Brunnen-Hefte (facsimile of two Brunnen-Hefte and an essay by K. Maidt-Zinke.) Deutsche Schillergesellschaft 2007, ISBN 9783937384344 .
  • Thomas Georg Ringmayr: Humor and comedy in contemporary German literature: Arno Schmidt, Eckhard Henscheid and Robert Gernhardt . Dissertation. UMI, Ann Arbor 1999.
  • Oliver Maria Schmitt : The harshest critics of the moose. The New Frankfurter School in words and lines and pictures . Alexander Fest, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-8286-0109-X , pp. 145-168.
  • Thomas Steinfeld (Ed.): The great poet sees things bigger. The classic Robert Gernhardt. Collection of articles. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-10-070406-1 .
  • Klaus Caesar Zehrer: Dialectics of Satire. On the comedy of Robert Gernhardt and the "Neue Frankfurter Schule". Dissertation. Der Andere Verlag, Osnabrück 2002, ISBN 3-936231-64-8 . online (PDF; 9.5 MB).

Web links

Contributions to Gernhardt

Commons : Robert Gernhardt  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Contributions by Gernhardt

Interviews with Gernhardt


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert Gernhardt: Behind the curve: Travel 1978-2005 (page 18) . 1st edition. S. Fischer, 2012, ISBN 978-3-10-025513-6 , pp. 304 .
  2. Robert Gernhardt. ( Memento from July 15, 2001 in the Internet Archive ) AiD, Ausländer in Deutschland 1/2001, year 17, March 30, 2001 (scroll down)
  3. ^ ZDF, Today, June 30, 2006 ( Memento of July 17, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  4. ^ Hubert Spiegel: Diaries from Tuscany. In: , June 3, 2011, accessed July 18, 2014.
  5. Robert Gernhardt: "I did not suffer from cancer, only from the therapy". In: Die Welt , July 3, 2006.
  6. The grave of Robert Gernhardt. In:
  7. ^ Full members of the German Association of Artists since it was founded in 1903 / Gernhardt, Robert. ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) In: , accessed on August 26, 2015
  8. ... or three. (1973-1975) . Pit Knorr website. Retrieved January 3, 2019
  9. Dr. Muffel's TV shower . Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  10. January 2010: Robert Gernhardt's exercise book. ( Memento from May 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) In:
  11. Hubert Spiegel: Review (FAZ 2011)
  12. A world under all the ballpoint pens. Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 19, 2010
  13. Years of great relaxation. In: Wiener Zeitung , Extra-Lexikon, July 8, 2006, obituary
  14. Klaus Caesar Zehrer: Dialectic of Satire. On the comedy of Robert Gernhardt and the "Neue Frankfurter Schule". Dissertation. Der Andere Verlag, Osnabrück 2002, ISBN 3-936231-64-8 . online (PDF; 9.5 MB). Page 177.
  16. A comprehensive review of this volume by Thomas Steinfeld appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on 7/8. January 2006, p. 16: The real Mr. Hecht and the dogs: A visit to the world of successful falls. Robert Gernhardt and his "Gesammelte Gedichte 1954-2004"
  17. ^ Review by Dieter Hildebrandt . In: The time . No. 33, August 10, 2006.
  18. ^ The Literary Quartet , ZDF, August 17, 2005 ( Memento from November 12, 2006 in the Internet Archive )