Franziska Becker was born on July 10, 1949, in Mannheim, a city of about a quarter-million people in southwestern Germany, then a part of the American Occupation Zone. Her father, Valentin, was a doctor at the Mannheim City Hospital. Her mother, Jutta, also had some medical training, but following her marriage, became a homemaker. Both are deceased. Franziska´s older brother, Heinrich, became a surgeon at Heidelberg Thorax-Clinic. Franziska received a good deal of exposure to both the sciences and humanities in her household. But her choice of a career in the arts was unexpected, and perhaps not overly encouraged. The only members of her family to follow the profession of painting were maternal great-grandfather Hemmings, who, according to unattested tradition, seems to have contributed to the frescoes of the St. George Cathedral in Limburg, and cousin Günter Becker, who is a successful painting contractor in Cologne. But the greatest formative influence by far had to be the shadow of World War Two, which dominated her childhood as it did that of the entire postwar generation. Her father's wounds sustained while he served as a medic, her mother's injuries suffered when her home was bombed, and the grim atmosphere of children's games played amidst Mannheim's ruins and rubble made on the young Franziska an indelible impression.
In 1968 Franziska completed her "Abitur" (vaguely the equivalent of an American high school honors diploma plus two years of college) at Mannheim's Karl Friedrich Gymnasium. She majored in classical languages, but also demonstrated artistic talent. The following year, she began her university studies at Heidelberg with a major in Egyptology; this didn't last very long, and she ultimately was awarded a Medical Technician's degree in 1971.
Following a very brief stint as a Medical Technician in Mannheim's City Hospital, she began formal training at the Art Academy in Karlsruhe. But she didn't see eye-to-eye with her teacher, the then-young Markus Lüpertz. After nearly five year's study, much of it undertaken while commuting from Heidelberg, she withdrew without completing a degree. During this time she become involved in the women's movement. While visiting the Women's Center in Heidelberg, she met the author, editor, and publicist Alice Schwarzer, who was shortly to establish EMMA magazine; Franziska´s cartoons and caricatures began to appear regularly in its pages. Subsequently, her work became familiar to readers of PSYCHOLOGY TODAY´s German edition, the mass-circulation news magazine STERN, and Zürich, Switzerland's respected daily, the TAGESANZEIGER. In 1980, Franziska published her first book of satirical cartoons. In the next quarter-century, sixteen additional titles appeared under her name. Several of these have been best-sellers.
In 1985, Franziska moved from the small university town of Heidelberg to Cologne, a Rhineland city of over a million in Germany´s industrial northwest. This move marked her final separation from her husband, to whom she had been married since 1976; the couple, who had no children, was granted a divorce in 1989. Franziska has lived and worked in Cologne ever since, producing illustrations, comic books, satirical drawings, and large-scale paintings. She was awarded the "Max and Mortiz" Prize, a satisfying recognition of her standing among Germany's most gifted cartoonists. When asked about her most significant early influences, she cites Wilhelm Busch, Carl Barks, Walter Trier, Olaf Gulbransson, and George Grosz. She has a real passion for art history, and likes to see herself somehow upholding the tradition of the English Eighteenth-Century satirists, namely, Hogarth, Rowlandson, and Gilray. She also credits a boyfriend and collaborator, the cartoonist Papan, as a major influence. Although the two have been separated for several years, she and Papan, who now makes his home in Munich, still meet and consult one another often. Her favorite painters? Brueghel, Goya, and Max Ernst. Least favorite? Her reply was that there was too much competition.
Today, Franziska´s thematic material ranges from fashion, diets, war, aging and psychology to reproduction technology and esoteric cults. She draws, writes, and paints at her two homes in Germany; one in Cologne, the other in the country village of Eiershagen. She also spends several months a year in the USA.
2012 Franziska Becker got the "Goettinger Elch" Life Time Award for her extensive oeuvre as a caricaturist,cartoonist and painter since 1977.