Klaus Staeck (born 28 February 1938 in Pulsnitz) is a German lawyer and publisher who is best known in Germany for his political graphic design work. From 2006 to 2015 he was president of the Akademie der Künste at Berlin.
Klaus Staeck is probably best known for his political poster art. He began to teach himself how to work as a graphic designer while pursuing his legal studies, creating posters, postcards, and flyers. In 1960, Mr Staeck became a member of Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the late 1960s he took part in local politics in Heidelberg. Over the years he created three hundred different motifs, drawing from current political discussions. He took sides for the poor, the environment, and for peace, urging his countrymen to join him and to interfere in political affairs. In his campaigns he employed claims such as, e.g., Deutsche Arbeiter – die SPD will euch eure Villen im Tessin wegnehmen ("German workers: the SPD seeks to take away your villas in Tessin from you"), or Die Reichen müssen noch reicher werden – deshalb CDU ("The rich must become richer yet, therefore vote CDU").
First he made woodcut prints, while from 1967 onward he changed to screen printing. Mr Staeck managed to finance his political actions by selling his artwork in Edition Tangente publishing house which later came to be known as Edition Staeck. He worked together with other political artists and writers, most notably Joseph Beuys, Panamarenko, Dieter Roth, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, Daniel Spoerri, Günter Grass, Walter Jens, and Heinrich Böll who publicly spoke out in his favour. At the beginning of the 1970´s Staeck began his long time collaboration with Gerhard Steidl. So far, Klaus Staeck was sued in 41 cases for his artwork to be banned from public, to no avail.
Since 1986 Mr Staeck has been visiting professor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. In April 2006 he was elected president of Berlin Akademie der Künste, succeeding to Adolf Muschg who had stepped down from this position late in 2005.
Klaus Staeck was awarded the first Zille prize for political graphic design in 1970, and the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz in 2007.
- If not noted otherwise, all biographical information is taken from the entry "Staeck, Klaus". Munzinger Online/Personen – Internationales Biographisches Archiv 31/2006. 5 August 2006 (accessed 10 April 2012), or from Klaus Staeck's biography Archived 2012-05-16 at the Wayback Machine on his personal website (accessed 10 April 2012).
- Klaus Staeck: Biografie Archived 2012-05-16 at the Wayback Machine. In: klausstaeck.de. 2004–2008. Accessed on 14 April 2012 (from his personal biography).