1891 1899 1905 1908 1912 1913

“The important man is not the artist,
but the businessman
who, in the marketplace
and on the battlefield, holds the reins in his hands.”  
German Dada & Anti-War Activist Artist John Heartfield
German Dada & Anti-War Activist Artist John Heartfield

Helmut Herzfeld Born. Berlin-Schmargendorf, Germany, 1891

Helmut Franz Josef Herzfeld (John Heartfield) was born on June 19, 1891, in Berlin-Schmargendorf, Germany.

His father, Franz Herzfeld (AKA Franz Held, 1862-1908) was a socialist writer. Heartfield’s mother, Alice (maiden name: Stolzenberg, 1867-1911) was a textile worker and political activist.

Heartfield was the second of four children (younger brother: Wieland; younger sisters: Charlotte and Hertha).

Both of Heartfield’s parents suffered from degrees of mental illness. Heartfield’s mother, Alice, spent the final years of her life in Berlin, shuffling between a boarding house and psychiatric institutions.

Helmut Herzfeld born of mother Alice Stolzenberg

John Heartfield's mother, Alice Stolzenberg.
Credit: John J Heartfield Collection

Helmut Herzfeld born of father Franz Held

John Heartfield's father, Franz Held.
Credit: John J Heartfield Collection

Alice Stolzenberg, Hertha, Helmut

Helmut Herzfeld with mother, Alice, and sister.
Credit: John J Heartfield Collection

John Heartfield's Grandmother

Heartfield's Grandmother. Credit: John J Heartfield Collection

Professor John J Heartfield is John Heartfield’s paternal grandson. He gives live interactive presentations around the world that focus on his grandfather’s life and work and modern political art. Please write to him to request his presence at your event or ask any question. He is always pleased to hear from exhibition visitors.

Dada Political Artist John Heartfield grandson, John Heartfield, Curator Official John Heartfield Exhibition