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John J Heartfield with John Heartfield, circa 1956. It’s clear from this photo that Heartfield suffered ill treatment after he was forced to return to East Germany in 1950. He narrowly avoided being tried for treason because of the length of his stay in England. The East German Akademie Der Künste refused to recognize him. He was denied the health benefits that would have come with admission to the Akademie.
L-R: John J Heartfield, John Heartfield, Catherine Jacobson (nee Heartfield). By the 1960s, Heartfield’s health and spirits had markedly improved. Bertolt Brecht and Stefan Heym had vigorously argued for Heartfield’s admission to the Akademie Der Künste. He was granted temporary visas to visit his family in his daughter-in-law’s home town of Sestri Levante, Italy.
L-R: John J Heartfield, Uncle Mario Bo, Gertrud Heartfield. John J Heartfield and Gertrud Heartfield became very close. Although John was never able to see his adopted grandmother again after John Heartfield’s death in East Berlin, the two often exchanged affectionate letters.
This page is devoted to interviews with John Heartfield and about John Heartfield.
At this time, it features links to interviews with the Exhibition’s curator, Heartfield’s grandson, John J Heartfield.
In the near future, it will feature rare interviews with John Heartfield. Please check the Exhibition’s Social Media for updates.
Of John Heartfield Interviews
New sections and media are constantly added to the Exhibition.
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SEMPREY.COM INTERVIEW: Valentina Romeo interviews the curator, John J Heartfield. Ms. Romero writes, “On the occasion of the exhibition in the Tate Modern, John Heartfield is sharing his thoughts and memories about his famous grandfather in an exclusive interview.”
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WSWS.COM INTERVIEW: Paul Bond interviews the curator. “I want to have people influenced by John Heartfield,” John J Heartfield.
John Heartfield’s grandson, the Exhibition’s curator, John J Heartfield gives answers to QUESTIONS FROM VISITORS TO THE OFFICIAL JOHN HEARTFIELD EXHIBITION about his personal interactions, feelings, and experiences with his famous grandfather.
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JOHN J HEARTFIELD INTERVIEWED ON ITALIAN TELEVISION: Marco Massa interviews John J. Heartfield in 2012 for Italian television. The interview features music written and recorded by John J Heartfield. NOTE: The interview is in Italian.
About John Heartfield Interviews
This section of currently features interviews with the curator of the Exhibition, John Heartfield’s grandson, John J Heartfield.
Soon the curator will add rare interviews given by his grandfather.
John J Heartfield was fortunate enough to spend time with his grandfather whenever Jonny was able to secure a temporary visa from East Germany. He could not have asked for a more affectionate or fascinating grandfather.
He describes his time with his grandfather as some of the happiest moments in his childhood.
The curator, John J Heartfield, also had a close relationship with his grandfather’s third wife, Gertrud (Tutti) Heartfield. Tutti met Jonny in England. She was devoted to him for the remainder of his life.
Both Jonny and Gertrud Heartfield were fluent in English.
After Jonny’s death in 1968, Gertrud and John J Heartfield continued to exchange affectionate correspondence. The curator always began his letters with “Dear Grandmother.”