Born in Estonia, Robert Gernhardt studied painting and literature in Stuttgart before becoming a well-known German cartoonist, satirist, writer, painter, and poet. Gerhardt, along with other artists, helped to create the New Frankfurt School, which was not only satirical but also self-referential. This playful style became popular in Gernhardt’s poetry, prose, and caricatures, which often looked irreverently at cultural and literary traditions.
Gernhardt contributed to the satirical magazine Pardon in the 1960s, and later co-founded another satirical magazine, called Titanic, in 1979. During the next decade, he wrote material for one of Germany’s most popular comedians, Otto Waalkes.
Gernhardt’s awards include the 1983 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, an annual award established to recognize outstanding works of children’s literature in Germany, and the Heinrich-Heine Prize, which he was awarded in 2004. In 2006, he received the Wilhem Busch Prize.
Gernhardt died in Frankfurt in 2006, after a long battle with cancer.