It’s most unfortunate that the public is currently unable to view the screens and theatrical models John Heartfield created for playwrights such as Bertodlt Brecht. They are stored in the Heartfield Archiv in the Akademie Der Künste in Berlin.

John J Heartfield continues to make every effort to negotiate with the Akademie Der Künste so that very high-resolution photos of these wonderful pieces of art can be available for display to the public.

Bertolt Brecht - world renowned playwright and composer

Bertolt Brecht


Bertolt Brecht (Feb. 10, 1898 – Aug. 14, 1956) was a world-renowned poet, playwright, and theatrical reformer. His epic theatre departed from the conventions of theatrical illusion.

Brecht and Heartfield became lifelong friends and artistic collaborators after they met in 1924.

John Heartfield was a key element in Brecht’s creation of the “Alienation Effect” [Verfremdungs-effekt] in theatre. Heartfield’s late arrival (due to a broken down streetcar) with screens he built as staging for a Brecht play caused the playwright to halt the production and poll the audience. Breaking the third wall, Brecht asked the audience how should the production continue, giving them four choices that involved the sets. The audience voted to start the play again with Heartfield’s sets.

Brecht is perhaps best known for “The Three Penny Opera,” which achieved worldwide acclaim.

“John Heartfield is one of the most important European artists. He works in a field that he created himself, the field of photomontage. Through this new form of art he exercises social criticism. steadfastly on the side of the working class, he unmasked the forces of the Weimar Republic driving toward war.”
“A hundred times a day one can hear rousing music on the radio, choirs encouraging one to buy Coca Cola, and one cries desperately for l’art pour l’art.”
“Do not fear death so much but rather the inadequate life.”
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht