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Many Malik-Verlag customers bought books only to have the John Heartfield dust covers. Heartfield turned down lucative offers from some of Berlin’s largest ad agencies so as to pursue his own vision.
Heartfield brilliantly played off the themes in Kurt Tucholsky’s Deutschland, Deutschland, uber alles.
Tucholsky’s skewering of German society, illustrated with John Heartfield’s Dada art graphics, was an enormous success.
Heartfield Book Graphics
New sections and media are
constantly added to the Exhibition
An Introduction To John Heartfield’s
Graphic Design For Book Dust Jackets And Interiors
Upton Sinclair was initially reluctant to use the fiery Heartfield, but he was won over by his talent.
Dada served John Heartfield well in his role as a graphic designer at Malik-Verlag, the publishing house where he served as the creative partner with his brother, Wieland Herzfeld.
Heartfield employed typography as a artistic element. He was the first book cover designer who presented the book jackets as 3-D designs that told a story from the front of the book to the back. (See excerpt from Nancy Roth’s article below).
Some graphics had images that resembled musical notes placed on the head of a judge’s robe. These images, like a great deal of Dada art, appeared to have no rhyme or reason. Others Heartfield covers were clear statements to enhance messages in books.
John Heartfield’s graphics for book dust jackets and interiors made him one of the most sought after designers in Berlin. His collaboration with Kurt Tucholsky, Deutschland, Deutschland, Über Alles, was an enormous success. He was offered high-level high-paying positions in German advertising agencies. He turned them all down. He said working for the agencies would interfere with his ability to freely express himself.
Excerpt From Nancy Roth’s Article: Heartfield and Modern Art
“He [John Heartfield] is credited, for example, with the introduction of a book jacket conceived as a three-dimensional object, its two surfaces bearing related images that together convey an abstract idea central to the book in question. One effective example was the jacket for Ilya Ehrenburg’s Most Sacred Possessions (Die heiligsten Guter). The front cover shows a montage of bullets, stacks of silver and gold coins, boxes of matches, and a small crucifix arranged as if on an altar. The back cover has another montage, this time of diverse figures set up like chessmen on a checkerboard – a cardinal, a female nude (white), a naked black woman carrying a large basket, a “proper” bourgeois businessman, a soldier with a gas mask, etc. Together, the two images imply that religious institutions function within a larger, highly structured “power game” that controls everyone.”
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