The apocalyptic global warming art John Heartfield created for Upton Sinclair’s Nach der Sintflut had literally nothing to do with the plot of the novel. And yet, its visual power succeeded in evoking Sinclair’s core message.
Heartfield, like other Dada artists such as George Grosz, were fascinated by film. They were especially interested in cartoons, such as the American cartoon file, Mutt and Jeff. He might have pursued a career in the cinema, but he felt he could pack the many frames of a film into one visual jolt. This collage of ocean waves sweeping over the skyscrapers of a city is a fine example. In one Mutt and Jeff cartoon a skyscraper rises from ocean waves. This could have given John Heartfield inspiration for this global warming art masterpiece.
“I gave a large framed reproduction of this montage to John Heartfield’s son, my father Tom, for his eightieth birthday. It occupied a place of honor on the wall of his living room in Queens, New York.” John J Heartfield, Curator