John Hartfield


July 3, 2022

John Heartfield (eng. John Heartfield, real name Helmut Herzfeld (German Helmut Herzfeld); June 19, 1891, Berlin - April 26, 1968, ibid.) - German artist, photographer, poster artist and decorator. Brother of publicist and publisher Wieland Herzfelde. His work is known for his active struggle against the Nazi regime.


He studied at the Munich School of Applied Arts (1907-1911) and at the School of Artistic Crafts in Berlin Charlottenburg (1912-1914). In 1915, Helmut Hertzfeld Anglicized his first and last name, becoming John Heartfield - thus he expressed his protest against German military patriotism, anti-British propaganda and Anglophobia that swept the country after the outbreak of the First World War. At first, he belonged to a group of "political Dadaists", one of whose slogans was the words "Use photography as a weapon." In 1930-1931 he lived in the USSR, in 1933-1950 he lived in exile in Prague and London. In 1950 he returned to the GDR. Creator of a proletarian anti-fascist, anti-imperialist photomontage poster. In his works, he criticized militarism, imperialism, capitalism, fascism, in particular their leaders and accomplices (“War and corpses are the last hope of the rich”, “Superman Adolf, swallows gold and talks all sorts of nonsense”, “Diagnosis”, “Hooray, oil is over !"). He has also worked in magazines, films and as a book artist. Particularly famous are his photomontages for the socialist illustrated magazine The Illustrated Workers' Newspaper (German: Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung), published in Berlin from 1921 to 1933, and after the Nazis came to power in Germany, continued his activities in exile in Prague from 1933 to 1938 He became a regular contributor to the publication in 1930 and was associated with its activities until 1938. During this time, 237 of his photomontage works were placed in the magazine. Laureate of the National Prize of the GDR (1957). John Heartfield believed that a collage must necessarily consist of photographs with captions, since the text message and the photographic image interact with each other and with other elements of the composition. The German art historian Peter Burger dwelled on this aspect, who pointed out: “First of all, these are not aesthetic objects, but images intended