John Heartfield and the Agitated Image, Photography, Persuasion, and the Rise of Avant-Garde Photomontage

AUTHOR: Andrés Mario Zervigón

PUBLISHED: University Of Chicago Press (November 23, 2012)


As John Heartfield’s grandson, I’m constantly on the lookout for books that help reveal his motivations and illuminate his evolution from unsuccessful young oil painter to world-renowned artist. Andrés Mario Zervigón’s John Heartfield and the Agitated Image: Photography, Persuasion, and the Rise of Avant-Garde Photomontage is precisely such a book. Professor Zervigón’s book shines with the type of research that informs the reader of the passion the author has for his subject. However, it’s much more than a scholarly exercise. Professor Zervigón is a gifted writer as well as a respected art historian. He employs his vast knowledge of the Berlin Dada community of the early twentieth century to present fascinating theories regarding the vivid personas of its major players such as John Heartfield, Wieland Herzfelde, George Grosz, and many others.His descriptions of the times, the people, and their actions often read more like an engrossing novel than a work of nonfiction. He brings his subjects to life by presenting a wealth of informative quotations. In short, Professor Zervigón’s book is a must read for anyone interested in John Heartfield, his life, his work, and his participation in the one of the most dynamic periods in modern art history.