Famous Photomontage Art – John Heartfield Reactions, Comments, Related Websites

John Heartfield Dada & Photomontage Art


CURATOR’S NOTE: As John Heartfield’s grandson and the curator of this exhibition I’m especially delighted when students, both young and old, discover his work. I’m posting the following two comments which I especially enjoyed regarding his masterpiece “Hurrah, There’s No Butter Left!” If you believe more of grandfather’s art should be made easily available to the public, please WRITE TO ME. Your opinion will make a difference.

FROM A CUANHANBURY SCHOOL ESSAY: John Heartfield’s photomontage “Hurrah, die Butter is alle!” is a parody of German World War 2 propaganda. Heartfield developed visual renderings of absurd images by taking quotes from German politicians and military leaders, in the case of this piece of work, a quote from Hermann Göering. This is a commentary and a form of artistic activism mocking the aggressive and militarist rhetoric the German government employed to convince the German people of the necessity of making sacrifices.

Another commentary that this photomontage makes is that “propaganda will invade every aspect of your life”. This is displayed by the seemingly average German family sitting down and eating, whereas the background is filled with Nazi propaganda: Adolf Hitler photograph placed an opulent frame, swastika wallpaper, and the Hindenberg cushion. This is a mockery of the unrealistic patriotism and national identity that the Nazi party were trying to enforce and distill into the German people.

FROM A GHDI SCHOOL ESSAY: In comparison to Cut with the Kitchen Knife (Hannah Hoch), this collage takes a much more direct approach at questioning the government; the Nazi swastikas on the wallpaper, the Hindenburg cushion and of course the framed photo of Adolph Hitler. The words from Hermann Göring translate “Ore has always made an empire strong, butter and lard have made a people fat at most.” Göring himself, was speaking of the industrial hunger for Germany, the Nazi’s having used industry to help the nation recover from Hyperinflation and the Wall Street Crash of 1929, hinting that this work will make Germany strong. “Empire” is likely the word that would have gone noticed to many, Heartfield making making the point that Germany – who weren’t allowed an army of more than 100,000 – were becoming more militant, suggesting “From now on, you will be exposed to military propaganda in its ‘crudest’ form. It will invade every aspect of your life.” johnheartfield.com. 2016. The collage makes a point about the German nationalism that the Nazi party are using, blinding the nation to their many issues “In their blind loyalty to the Führer, this family even seems to have forgotten that iron is no substitute for food and instead cheers: “Hurrah, the butter is gone!”

CURATOR’S NOTE: The email I received from Cressida is one of my most favorite. One of the reasons I built The Official John Heartfield Exhibition is to remind people the past always informs the future. To hear from a young person that my grandfather’s work has helped her understand this fact is so inspiring. If you believe more of grandfather’s art should be made easily available to the public, please WRITE TO ME. Your opinion will make a difference.

EMAIL FROM CRESSIDA B.(United States): “I’m 16 years old and have chosen(as part of my art GCSE) to do an essay on John Heartfield’s brilliant work. I have a 2000 (give or take) word limit and still pondering on an idea of a question. I was just wondering if you would be able to direct me to any perhaps more personal insight of his triggers of his art that he created, especially his anti-Nazi works. I am keen to take a current spin on his work perhaps contrasting it with the fake propaganda and promises made during Brexit and the Presidential Election. I personally find his works incredibly affective for all sorts of reasons and really look forward to exploring his art more closely.”

“Thank you for maintaining the legacy of this wonderful artist. I saw John’s grave for the first time right after the Berlin Wall fell – I used to live in West Berlin and studied at the Technische Universitaet (Landschaftsplanung) on a German Academic Exchange Service grant (1985-1986)”
Stephanie T. (United States)
“I was thrilled to find your website because I have loved your grandfather’s work ever since I saw an exhibition of his posters, which was put together in collaboration with the Werkbundarchiv Berlin, when I was a young student.”
Andrea H. (Germany)
“As a U.S. citizen, I am pleading with you to allow a traveling retrospective of this history shaping work, please!! History is beginning to repeat itself in the US and all need to see the truths in these great works. Please have compassion and allow the works to travel to the US.”
Susan B. (United States)


CURATOR’S NOTE: It’s my life’s work to have my grandfather’s famous photomontage art, as well as his groundbreaking influential graphic design, on public view. His powerful visual statements opposing fascism, bigotry, ignorance, and oppression are especially relevant at this critical time in world politics. Unfortunately, almost all of my grandfather’s art is stored inside in a vast archive in Germany. If you believe my grandfather’s art should be made available to the public, please WRITE TO ME. Your opinion will make a difference.

“I`ve been working since 2010 with the life history of many photographers in Brazil, that had a main role as a resistance from the Military Dictatorship using the visual media as its main tool (during the 1960s and 1970s in Brazil and many other Latin American countries). My main objective right now, in this new academic research, is to understand John Heartfield`s work as a resistance of the authoritarianism in Europe, reading more about his life work, and have some close contact with his relatives for any kind of contribution that may enrich the Thesis. For this, the Oral History can be used as a tool to remember his job, his life and the continuation of his whole work.”
Caio P. (Brazil)
“Heartfield was surely a Dadaist in the truest original spirit and sense of the word. After all, the Dada movement originally came about in 1916 as a protest against the first world war and the political bungling that lead to its instigation. John Heartfield was a visionary artist who saw the same insidious process repeating itself in the 1930s, and more importantly possessed the rare moral integrity and brazen courage to dedicate his life and considerable talents to exposing those negative forces at work in Germany at that time.
A major retrospective for this brave and way under-appreciated genius is long overdue. I’m looking forward to seeing the Exhibition site blossoming.”
London Dada
“I am writing an academic monograph entitled “Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War,” to be published with Vanderbilt UP. One chapter with the importance of montage in the visual archives of the Spanish Civil War. As part of this chapter I would love to show, as an example of a particularly powerful montage, Heartfield’s “Die Freiheit selbst kämpft in ihren Reihen.”
Sebastiaan F. (United States)

Comments & Related Websites

[…] hände aus den taschen, kurz gebiss’ne nägel zählen, denn fünf finger hat die hand […]
anderland 14 | schwungkunst.blog

[…] Maria Martinez use of fragmented forms and images, has provoked comparisons to photomontages by the likes of John Heartfield and Alexander Rodchenko. The fragments revisit and reference her deep knowledge of art history, […]
María Martínez-Cañas Exhibit Reveals Shocking New Realm | Hamptons Art HubHamptons Art Hub

[…] John Heartfield was a German Dada pioneer, groundbreaking Graphic Designer and anti-fascist collage artist. He worked in the regime of the Nazis in a time when Hitler was his contemporary. In his work he attacked the fascism of the party with his imagination, scissors, glue and a stack of magazines, very much in the style of a Dadaist, whilst constantly being under threat of assassination by the Hitler’s Third Reich. Heartfield even went so far as to make his own name a political statement, being born as Helmut Franz Josef Herzfeld but changing it to John Heartfield to counteract the anti-British attitude of early 20th century Germany. His most famous works include a montage of Hitler turning his financial support into political lies appeared on Berlin newsstands in 1932. It was called ‘Adolf Der Übermensch: Schluckt Gold und redet Blech’ (Adolf The Superman: Swallows Gold and spouts Junk). Another example of his open criticism of the Nazis is the famous AIZ (a German illustrated magazine published between 1924 and March 1933 in Berlin) cover that exposed Hermann Goering as The Third Reich’s executioner and the Reichstag fire as the work of the Nazi Party called ‘Göring: Der Henker des Dritten Reichs’ (Goering: The Executioner of the Third Reich). I find this artist endlessly fascinating, take, for example the fact that he escaped assassination in his own home on the 4th of April 1933 when the Nazis stormed his house, forcing him to escape from his French windows and fall into a rubbish bin. He used the Nazi’s own images against them and was in my opinion one of the bravest and most important artists of all time. […]Laughing at Hitler- an artist’s favourite pastime. – Art

[…] By Emily Witt, Staff Writer Graphic by John Heartfield […]Strangled by the Loop of History | The Grappler

[…] Gespräch im Berliner Zoo (Conversation In The Berlin Zoo) […]Wait, what..? | Force Of Seeing

[…] John Heartfield Art From Dada To His Famous Anti-Fascist Photomontages. [online] Available at: https://www.johnheartfield.com/John-Heartfield-Exhibition/john-heartfield-art [Accessed 19 Nov. […]Dadaism – Melvin Magro

[…] German Dada Art & Berlin Dada Artists – 20th Century Art […]John Heartfield – Open Data

[…] Información sobre John Heartfield […]El fotomontaje | Libreta de apuntes

[…] Westminster Saying ( after Berlin Dadaist John Heartfield )   c. Michael St. Mark […]Work No 765: A Westminster Saying ( after John Heartfield) | LONDON DADA

[…]Slightly disappointed not more Otto Dix (though; this work is great), but taken with the work of John Heartfield (about whom I knew nothing prior to this exhibit) and pleased to see some of George Grosz’s […] CURATOR RESPONDS: I agree. This site keeps growing. I will add material about Otto Dix. Achtung, baby | AbsurdBeats

[…] His career began in 1968, a year of revolt against the status quo with the ‘hippie’ movement. Originally focusing on painting, Kannard abandoned it as he sought a new form of expression which would have a large sociological and political impact – which he found in photomontage. His efforts restored the medium from previous associations of radical politics, such as Dadaism and the anti-Nazi John Heartfield […]Imperial War Museum: Peter Kannard – Unofficial War Artist | Oliver Leak


John Heartfield Exhibition Shop Reviews

Here’s a sample of emails from Heartfield Shop customers. Every customer email has been positive since The Shop opened in 2015. Customer satisfaction is our highest priority. Please Write To The Shop and give us your opinion.

Political Art Poster Rationalization Is On The March! 24 x 36 in (60.96 x 91.44 cm)
“The images are perfect – many thanks! Good luck with the continuing work on the Heartfield exhibition! It is very much appreciated.”
Elza A. (United Kingdon, 3/19/18)

Political Art Poster Rationalization Is On The March! 24 x 36 in (60.96 x 91.44 cm)
Looking for a poster by John Heartfield, I came across the John Heartfield Exhibition Shop and was very happy that such a shop existed at all. I bought the poster “The rationalization marches”. It was delivered very quickly and reliably and is of very good quality (solid, matte paper).
Thank you, John! I’ll definitely come back soon. (Katja’s English is perfect. She was kind enough to write to me in German as well: Auf der Suche nach einem Poster von John Heartfield bin ich auf den John Heartfield Exhibition Shop gestoßen und habe mich sehr darüber gefreut, dass ein solcher Shop überhaupt existiert. Ich habe das Poster “Die Rationalisierung marschiert” gekauft. Es wurde sehr schnell und zuverlässig geliefert und ist von sehr guter Qualität (festes, mattes Papier).
Vielen Dank, John! Ich werde bestimmt bald wieder vorbeischauen.)
Katja C. (Germany, 2/17/18)

Political Art Poster Never Again! 12 x 18 in (30.48 x 45.72 cm)
“Thank you so much for the postcards – what a lovely surprise! I was thrilled with my posters – the quality was excellent. I will be ordering more. And such service and communication, I can’t recommend this site enough. Many thanks.”

Jayne W (United Kingdom, 12/24/17)

Political Art Poster Never Again! (24 x 36 in • 60.96 x 91.44 cm)
“As you may remember I purchased a complete set of your grandfather’s works Photomontages of the Nazi Period when I was playing at a festival in East Berlin in 1979.
The ‘Never Again’ poster that I purchased from you last year went missing somewhere in a flat move 3 decades or so ago, and I thought it was lost forever.
So to have a replacement, even although it’s much bigger than the original, is wonderful. I am picking it up from the framer at the weekend and it will be on the wall for Christmas, one of the most powerful anti-war messages I have ever seen.”
Follow Up Email From Fergus:
“The poster is framed and has pride of place in my study!”
Fergus M (United Kingdom, 11/21/17)

Political Art Unisex T-Shirt Use Art As A Weapon
“Thanks again for this, John. He really appreciated his Christmas gift and wore the T-shirt all day!”
Trista D (United States, 12/30/15)

Political Art Mug Featuring Hurrah, There’s No Butter Left! & John Heartfield In Paris
“Hey John,

The mug is in Zurich and the coffee is fine.
For your grandfather.
Cheers,
Markus”
Markus H (Switzerland, May 22, 2015)

Political Art Poster Five Fingers Has The Hand (5 Finger hat die Hand, 24 x 36 in (60.96 x 91.44 cm)
“The poster arrived at the other day, thanks very much! One of my friends in the UK has also purchased this poster. We’re both very happy. Your grandfather did some amazing things.
I really appreciate you keeping this work alive – we need a reminder like his in times like this.
Best Wishes,”
Milan M (United Kingdom, July 24, 2016)

Special Request Political Art Poster Tretyakov & Heartfield, 24 x 36 in (60.96 x 91.44 cm)
“Many thanks for going to that trouble. I look forward to seeing it.
Best wishes,
Chris”
Follow Up Email From Chris:
“Hi John,
Thanks very much for the work you do. I’ve in fact acquired further books and articles about John Heartfield, and am exploring his work in much greater detail. The poster was terrific, though at that scale the pixilation is quite visible when viewed up close.
Best wishes for the holiday season to you and yours.
Chris N (Australia, August 8, 2016)
Heartfield Shop Note: Chris made a special poster request for a blow-up of an old photo of my grandfather into a poster. Viewed up close, there had to be some visible pixalization when this small photo was enlarged to poster size. Fortunately, Chris was happy with the poster. However, if you have any issue with Heartfield Shop Items, it’s easy to get a refund or replacement.