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HomeContents > People > Photographers > John Heartfield

Names:
Born: Helmut Herzfelde 
Dates:  1891, 19 June - 1968, 26 April
Born:  Germany, Berlin
Died:  East Germany, East Berlin
Active:  Germany / Czechoslovakia / England, London
 
  
German Dadist and perhaps the greatest political photomontagist ever.

Preparing biographies


Biography provided by Focal Press 
  
A member of Berlin’s Dada group and a pioneer of photomontage as a political method, Heartfield embodies the artist as activist. With cutting absurdity, he lambasted materialism, bourgeois pretensions, and the abuse of power in Germany in the late 1920s. During the 1930s he produced over 200 anti-Nazi and anti-conservative photomontages with captions. This combination, often featuring Nazi quotes, created ingenious visual puns that communicated a new message, which was the opposite of the original intent. 
  
(Author: Robert Hirsch - Independent scholar and writer) 
  
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 
  

Further research

 
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Alexander Rodchenko
John Heartfield, Moscow 
1931
 
  
Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
 
  

Exhibitions on this website

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Visual indexes

 
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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online (www.groveart.com) has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
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Internet resources

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John Heartfield 
http://www.geh.org ... 
  
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
  
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.183 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
  
• Fernandez, Horacio (ed.) 2000 Fotografía Pública: Photography in Print 1919-1939 (Aldeasa) p.116-121 [This Spanish exhibition catalogue is one of the best sources for illustrations of photomontage and book design for the period between the two World Wars.] 
  
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on John Heartfield.] 
  
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.159 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by John Heartfield are included in this classic history.] 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
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