Franz Priking was born in Mülheim in the North Rhine in 1929. He was arrested while still a young man and imprisoned in Auschwitz, miraculously he was one of only a handful of Jews that managed to escape the camp. He had developed a love of art and, in 1948, went to study at the Bauhaus in Weimar, then at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts in the studio of Max Pechstein, one of the founders of the Die Brücke movement. At this time he became friends with Bertold Brecht, who introduced him to Socialist Realism. From Germany he moved firstly to Paris before going to the South of France. He met Picasso and worked for eight months with him. Picasso would tell him that, “you will be one of the best painters of your generation…”
From then on, he painted continuously. In 1958 he was awarded the Prix de la Jeune Peinture in Paris, in 1961 he was elected a member of the International Institute of Arts and Letters in Geneva. In the early 1960s he settled in Oppède in the Lubéron, where he died prematurely at the age of 49. No fewer than thirty-seven American museums possess and exhibit his works, as well as those of the Vatican in Rome, Modern Art of Paris, Calvet in Avignon and Santiago de Chile.