1891 1899 1905 1908 1912 1913

Helmut Herzfeld Early Years – Before He Became John Heartfield

Born into poverty, Helmut Herzfeld (John Heartfield), his brother, Wieland, and their two sisters, Charlotte and Hertha, were abandoned in a cottage in the woods by their mentally disturbed parents. Heartfield was the eldest child. He was eight years old. The children were taken in by Aigen’s mayor, but Heartfield was a rebellious child. He was sent to a Catholic home for unruly children where he was brutalized by the nuns. Helmut prayed each night for his Protestant God to forgive him for being forced to say their Catholic prayers. He found his purpose in life early on. He wanted more than anything to be an artist. He studied with excellent teachers, including Ernst Neumann in 1913. He honed his skills as an advertising graphics designer.This are the people and events that shaped him until his art and his life took a dramatic turn when he met and became friends with the eccentric artistic genius, George Grosz.

The Chronology section will always grow.

Professor John J Heartfield is John Heartfield’s paternal grandson. Professor Heartfield presented Art & Politics, Politics & Art at the DADA WORLD FAIR in San Francisco. Please write to him about his live presentation regarding the relevance of his grandfather’s life and work to current events.

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