“You don’ know what you’re a-doin’.”
John Heartfield seeks asylum in England in 1940. For more than a decade the anti-Nazi anti-war activist artist has risked his life and the life of his family to use his art as weapon to against the insanity of fascism and The Third Reich. He is interned for short periods four times as an enemy alien (Category C). The conditions in the camp are terrible. Heartfield becomes severely ill.
After his release, he meets Gertrud Hedwig Fietz. John and Gertrud Heartfield will remain inseparable until Heartfield’s death in 1968. They are married when Heartfield is politically and financially forced to return to the East Germany where he’ll again be treated as a villain. The communist idealism of his youth will be shattered when he’s accused of treason by the East German Government.
John Heartfield’s son Tom had one son, the exhibition’s curator John J Heartfield. The curator knew Gertud Heartfield as his adopted grandmother. They enjoyed time together in Italy. Everyone in Tom Heartfield’s family called Gertrud an affectionate nickname – Tutti.