Jean Jansem was born in Seuleuze, Turkey in 1920.
Of Armenian origin, his family emigrated to Greece in his early childhood, then to France which became his adopted country.
At the age of 14, he attended evening classes at the Montparnasse Academy, then joined the School of Decorative Arts in Paris from which he graduated in 1938. During his studies, he frequented the studio of the Grande Chaumière among others and became friends with Parisian artists of the time including Bernard Buffet.
Two museums in Japan and many international exhibitions are devoted to him.
In 2002, Jean Jansem offered his ‘Massacres’ exhibition to the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan.
Many French and Armenian honorary medals were awarded to him: Knight of the Legion of Honor, Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, Honorary Doctor of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Medal of the Order of the Republic of Armenia.
Jean Jansem died in 2013 in Saint-Aignan, France.
Jansem loved humanity. Behind their wrought faces and their emaciated bodies, his characters – in a state of desperation – express their mood and despair without forcing their sorrow onto the viewer. His art is always on the border between reality and imagination.
Jansem wanted to achieve a synthesis between what is aesthetic and what is not.