Franz M. Jansen was born in Cologne. He studied architecture before deciding to become a fine artist. In 1912 Franz Jansen joined the Berlin Secession, and took part in the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne. In 1914 Jansen had his first major solo exhibition in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne. He was conscripted into the army in WWI. After the war, Franz M. Jansen became one of a number of artist - such as George Grosz and John Heartfield - who devoted their artistic energies to political satire of decadent Weimar. Jansen contributed to the journal Die Aktion, and exhibited with the Neue Sachlichkeit group. When the Nazis came to power, Franz Jansen was silenced; 157 of his works were removed from German museums, and probably destroyed.