Tag Archives: sculpture

Max Klinger

Max Klinger:  painter, sculptor

Max Klinger (18 February 1857 – 5 July 1920) was a German symbolist painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer.


Klinger was born in Leipzig and studied in the beautiful and inspirational city of Karlsruhe, Germany. An admirer of the etchings of Menzel and Goya, he shortly became a skilled and imaginative engraver in his own right. He began creating sculptures in the early 1880s. From 1883–1893 he lived in Rome, and became increasingly influenced by the Italian Renaissance and antiquity.

"The Judgement of Paris," 1886-87
“The Judgement of Paris,” 1886-87

His best known work is a series of ten etchings entitled Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove (printed 1881). These pictures were based on images which came to Klinger in dreams after finding a glove at an ice-skating rink. In the leitmotivic device of a glove—belonging to a woman whose face we never see—Klinger anticipated the research of Freud and Krafft-Ebing on fetish objects. (see slideshow below for all ten plates)


In this case, the glove becomes a symbol for the artist’s romantic yearnings, finding itself, in each plate, in different dramatic situations, and performing the role that we might expect the figure of the beloved herself to fulfill. Semioticians have also seen in the symbol of the glove an example of a sliding signifier, or signifier without signified—in this case, the identity of the woman which Klinger is careful to conceal. The plates suggest various psychological states or existential crises faced by the artist protagonist (who bears a striking resemblance to the young Klinger).

"Bust of Elsa Asenijeff," c. 1900
“Bust of Elsa Asenijeff,” c. 1900
Klinger’s model, Elsa Asenijeff, c. 1897

Klinger traveled extensively around the art centers of Europe for years before returning to Leipzig in 1893. From 1897 he mostly concentrated on sculpture; his marble statue of Beethoven was an integral part of the Vienna Secession exhibit of 1902.

“Statue of Beethoven,” 1902

Klinger was cited by many artists (notably Giorgio de Chirico) as being a major link between the symbolist movement of the 19th century and the start of the metaphysical and Surrealist movements of the 20th century. Asteroid 22369 Klinger is named in his honor.

Elsa Asenijeff, 1896
“The Great Goddess,” 1916
“Adam, Opus III”
“Amor, Tod, und Jenseits (Love, Death, and Beyond)”

In Elsa Bernstein’s naturalist play Dämmerung, Klinger is mentioned in the third act when Carl talks of being able to afford “etchings by Klinger” for 80 francs.
Inspection Medical Hermeneutics, an infamous Moscow art collective, based their 1991 installation Klinger’s Boxes, on an idea inspired by Klinger’s Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove.

From “Klinger’s Boxes,” this is “Cold Reduction” 1991

Edited from:


Max Klinger

 


Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series,
February 18, 2017

(click image for full resolution)

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Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter (born 9 February 1932) is a German visual artist. Richter has produced abstract as well as photorealistic paintings, and also photographs and glass pieces. His art follows the examples of Picasso and Jean Arp in undermining the concept of the artist’s obligation to maintain a single cohesive style.
In October 2012, Richter’s Abstraktes Bild set an auction record price for a painting by a living artist at $34 million (£21 million). This was exceeded in May 2013 when his 1968 piece Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral square, Milan) was sold for $37.1 million (£24.4 million) in New York. This was further exceeded in February 2015 when his painting Abstraktes Bild sold for $44.52 million (£30.4 million) in London at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale.


Richter was born in Hospital Dresden-Neustadt in Dresden, Saxony, and grew up in Reichenau, Lower Silesia (now Bogatynia, Poland), and in Waltersdorf (Zittauer Gebirge), in the Upper Lusatian countryside, where his father worked as a village teacher. Gerhard’s father, Horst Richter, was a mathematics and physics student at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, when he married Hildegard Schönfelder in 1931, and Gerhard was born the following year.

Gerhard Richter, c. 1966
Gerhard Richter, c. 1966

After struggling to maintain a position in the new Nationalist Socialist education system, Horst found a position in Reichenau. In Reichenau, Gerhard’s younger sister, Gisela was born in November 1936. Horst and Hildegard were able to remain primarily apolitical due to Reichenau’s location in the countryside. Horst, being a teacher, was eventually forced to join the National Socialist Party. He never became an avid supporter of Nazism, and was not required to attend party rallies. In 1942, Gerhard was conscripted into the Deutsches Jungvolk, but by the end of the war he was still too young to be an official member of the Hitler Youth. In 1943 Hildegard moved the family to Waltersdorf, and was later forced to sell her piano which had great importance to her as her father had been a well known pianist.

"S. mit kind (S. with child)," 1995
“S. mit kind (S. with child),” 1995

Gerhard left school after 10th grade and apprenticed as an advertising and stage-set painter, before studying at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. In 1948, he finished higher professional school in Zittau, and, between 1949 and 1951, successively worked as an apprentice with a sign painter and as a painter. In 1950, his application for study at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts was rejected as “too bourgeois”. He finally began his studies at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts in 1951. His teachers were Karl von Appen, Heinz Lohmar (de) and Will Grohmann.

Richter married Marianne Eufinger in 1957; she gave birth to his first daughter. He married his second wife, the sculptor Isa Genzken, in 1982. Richter had a son and daughter with his third wife, Sabine Moritz after they were married in 1995.


In the early days of his career, he prepared a wall painting (Communion with Picasso, 1955) for the refectory of his Academy of Arts as part of his B.A. Another mural entitled Lebensfreude (Joy of Life) followed at the German Hygiene Museum for his diploma. It was intended to produce an effect “similar to that of wallpaper or tapestry”.

"Lebensfreude (Joy of Life)," 1956
“Lebensfreude (Joy of Life),” 1956

Both paintings were painted over for ideological reasons after Richter escaped from East to West Germany two months before the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. After German reunification two “windows” of the wall painting Joy of Life (1956) were uncovered in the stairway of the German Hygiene Museum, but these were later covered over when it was decided to restore the Museum to its original 1930 state. From 1957 to 1961 Richter worked as a master trainee in the academy and took commissions for the then state of East Germany. During this time, he worked intensively on murals like Arbeiterkampf (Workers’ struggle), on oil paintings (e.g. portraits of the East German actress Angelica Domröse and of Richter’s first wife Ema), on various self-portraits and on a panorama of Dresden with the neutral name Stadtbild (Cityscape), 1956.

“Stadtbild (Cityscape),” 1956

When he escaped to West Germany, Richter began to study at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Karl Otto Götz together with Sigmar Polke, HA Schult, Kuno Gonschior, Hans Erhard Walther, Konrad Lueg and Gotthard Graubner. With Polke and Konrad Fischer (de) (pseudonym Lueg) he introduced the term Kapitalistischer Realismus (Capitalistic Realism) as an anti-style of art, appropriating the pictorial shorthand of advertising. This title also referred to the realist style of art known as Socialist Realism, then the official art doctrine of the Soviet Union, but it also commented upon the consumer-driven art doctrine of western capitalism.

Richter with colleagues Sigmar Polke, Konrad Fischer (then Lueg) and Manfred Kuttner

 

“Party,” 1963

Richter taught at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design as a visiting professor; he returned to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1971, where he was a professor for over 15 years. In 1983, Richter resettled from Düsseldorf to Cologne, where he still lives and works today. In 1996, he moved into a studio designed by architect Thiess Marwede.

Window at Cologne Cathedral, by Gerhard Richter
Window at Cologne Cathedral, by Gerhard Richter
Window at Cologne Cathedral, by Gerhard Richter

Nearly all of Richter’s work demonstrates both illusionistic space that seems natural and the physical activity and material of painting—as mutual interferences. For Richter, reality is the combination of new attempts to understand—to represent; in his case, to paint—the world surrounding us. Richter’s opinions and perspectives on his own art, and that of the larger art market and various artistic movements, are compiled in a chronological record of “Writings” and interviews. The following quotes are excerpts from the compilation:

  • “I am a Surrealist.”
  • “My sole concern is the object. Otherwise I would not take so much trouble over my choice of subjects; otherwise I would not paint at all.”
  • “My concern is never art, but always what art can be used for.”


Edited from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerhard_Richter


Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:
February 9, 2017

Gerhard Richter

(click image for full resolution)

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Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse: painter, sculptor, printmaker

Henri Matisse (31 December 1869 – 3 November 1954) was a revolutionary and influential artist of the early 20th century, best known for the expressive color and form of his Fauvist style.


My choice of colors does not rest on any scientific theory; it is based on observation, on sensitivity, on felt experience.” —Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse was born December 31, 1869, in Le Cateau in northern France. Over a six-decade career he worked in all media, from painting to sculpture to printmaking. Although his subjects were traditional—nudes, figures in landscapes, portraits, interior views—his revolutionary use of brilliant color and exaggerated form to express emotion made him one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

matisse at work

Henri Matisse was born on December 31, 1869, and was raised in the small industrial town of Bohain-en-Vermandois in northern France. His family worked in the grain business. As a young man Matisse worked as a legal clerk and then studied for a law degree in Paris in 1887-89. Returning to a position in a law office in the town of Saint-Quentin, he began taking a drawing class in the mornings before he went to work. When he was 21, Matisse began painting while recuperating from an illness, and his vocation as an artist was confirmed.

In 1891 Matisse moved to Paris for artistic training. He took instruction from famous, older artists at well-known schools such as the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts. These schools taught according to the “academic method,” which required working from live models and copying the works of Old Masters, but Matisse was also exposed to the recent Post-Impressionist work of Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh while living in Paris.

Matisse began to show his work in large group exhibitions in Paris in the mid-1890s, including the traditional Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and his work received some favorable attention. He traveled to London and to Corsica, and in 1898 he married Amélie Parayre, with whom he would have three children.

Matisse and his wife Amélie, 1913
Matisse and his wife Amélie, 1913

By the turn of the 20th century, the young artist had come under the more progressive influence of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, who painted in a “Pointillist” style with small dots of color rather than full brushstrokes. Matisse stopped exhibiting at the official Salon and began submitting his art to the more progressive Salon des Indépendants in 1901. In 1904 he had his first one-man exhibition at the gallery of dealer Ambroise Vollard.

"Dishes And Fruit," 1901
“Dishes And Fruit,” 1901

Matisse had a major creative breakthrough in the years 1904-05. A visit to Saint-Tropez in southern France inspired him to paint bright, light-dappled canvases such as Luxe, calme et volupté (1904-05), and a summer in the Mediterranean village of Collioure produced his major works Open Window and Woman with a Hat in 1905. He exhibited both paintings in the 1905 Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris. In a review of the show, a contemporary art critic mentioned the bold, distorted images painted by certain artists he nicknamed “fauves,” or “wild beasts.”

"Luxe, calme et voluptè (Luxury, Calm and Pleasure)," 1904
“Luxe, calme et voluptè (Luxury, Calm and Pleasure),” 1904-05
“Open Window,” 1905
“Woman With A Hat,” 1905

Painting in the style that came to be known as Fauvism, Matisse continued to emphasize the emotional power of sinuous lines, strong brushwork and acid-bright colors in works such as The Joy of Life, a large composition of female nudes in a landscape. Like much of Matisse’s mature work, this scene captured a mood rather than merely trying to depict the world realistically.

"The Joy Of Life," 1905
“The Joy Of Life,” 1905

Between 1905 and 1906, Matisse painted four different copies of the same scene in “The Joy of Life,” (translated from the original French, “Le Bonheur de Vivre“). Two of the copies are at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, one is at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and one is at the Museum of Copenhagen. The copy at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has maintained a vibrant yellow pigment that fills in the spaces between the reclining nudes in the middle the masterpiece. But a copy at the Barnes Foundation is gradually but steadily reacting with light and air and fading to a dull ivory color.

The copy of Matisse's "The Joy Of Life" at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been steadily losing its vibrancy due to the chemistry of the paints the artist used.
The copy of Matisse’s “The Joy Of Life” at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been steadily losing its vibrancy due to the chemistry of the paints the artist used.

Researchers took samples from one of the copies at the Barnes Foundation. “If we want to study the full paint layer, we take a scalpel and remove a tiny sample of the painting” that is equivalent to the size of a period at the end of a sentence of a Times Roman 10-point font, said one of the scientists involved, Jennifer Mass. The research found that when that top layer was exposed to air, the water-resistant, bright-yellow cadmium sulfide Matisse (and many other artists at the time) had used, oxidizes into cadmium sulfate. The binder, an oil paint used to make the paint stick to the canvas, can degrade to beige cadmium carbonate and cadmium oxalate. As for why one copy was not fading, Mass suggests Matisse most likely had substituted another pigment rather than cadmium yellow.

Research on, and conservation of, "The Joy Of Life," was led by Jennifer Mass, a senior scientist at the Winterthur museum in Delaware who was enlisted by the Barnes Foundation.
Research on, and conservation of, “The Joy Of Life,” was led by Jennifer Mass, a senior scientist at the Winterthur museum in Delaware who was enlisted by the Barnes Foundation.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Matisse also made sculptures and drawings that were sometimes related to his paintings, always repeating and simplifying his forms to their essence.

http://art-matisse.com

After finding his own style, Matisse enjoyed a greater degree of success. He was able to travel to Italy, Germany, Spain and North Africa for inspiration. He bought a large studio in a suburb of Paris and signed a contract with the prestigious art dealers of Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris. His art was purchased by prominent collectors such as Gertrude Stein in Paris and the Russian businessman Sergei I. Shchukin, who commissioned Matisse’s important pair of paintings Dance I and Music in 1909-10.

“Dance 1,” 1910
“Music,” 1910

In his works of the 1910s and 1920s, Matisse continued to delight and surprise his viewers with his signature elements of saturated colors, flattened pictorial space, limited detail and strong outlines. Some works, like The Piano Lesson (1916), explored the structures and geometry of Cubism, the movement pioneered by Matisse’s lifelong rival Pablo Picasso. Yet despite his radical approach to color and form, Matisse’s subjects were often traditional: scenes of his own studio (including The Red Studio of 1911), portraits of friends and family, arrangements of figures in rooms or landscapes.

“The Piano Lesson,” 1916
“The Red Studio,” 1911

In 1917 Matisse began spending winters on the Mediterranean, and in 1921 he moved to the city of Nice on the French Riviera. From 1918-30, he most frequently painted female nudes in carefully staged settings within his studio, making use of warm lighting and patterned backgrounds. He also worked extensively in printmaking during these years.

“Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window,” 1922
“Interior At Nice,” 1919

The first scholarly book about Matisse was published in 1920, marking his importance in the history of modern art as it was still taking place.

"Woman Seated on an Armchair, Open Robe," 1920
“Woman Seated on an Armchair, Open Robe,” 1920

In his later career, Matisse received several major commissions, such as a mural for the art gallery of collector Dr. Albert Barnes of Pennsylvania, titled Dance II, in 1931-33. He also drew book illustrations for a series of limited-edition poetry collections.

“The Dance II,” 1933 – at the wonderful Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA
Detail from “The Dance II,” 1933

Matisse was diagnosed with duodonal cancer in 1941, and after surgery that same year, he was often bedridden. However, he continued to work from a bed in his studio. When necessary, he would draw with a pencil or charcoal attached to the end of a long pole that enabled him to reach the paper or canvas.

His late work was just as experimental and vibrant as his earlier artistic breakthroughs had been. It included his 1947 book Jazz, which placed his own thoughts on life and art side by side with lively images of colored paper cutouts.

This project led him to devising works that were cutouts on their own, most notably several series of expressively shaped human figures cut from bright blue paper and pasted to wall-size background sheets (such as Swimming Pool, 1952).

“Swimming Pool,” now located at the New York Museum Of Modern Art
One of Matisse’s most well known images, “Blue Nude (I),” from 1952.

In one of his final projects, Matisse created an entire program of decorations for the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence (1948-51), a town near Nice, designing stained-glass windows, murals, furnishings, and even sacred vestments for the church’s priests.

Henri Matisse suffered a massive heart attack and died on November 3, 1954, at the age of 84, in Nice. By his side were his daughter Margarite, and his longtime model, muse, friend, personal assistant and eventual caretaker, the painter Lydia Delectorskaya.

Marguerite Mattise, the artist’s daughter, speaks with Queen Elizabeth II, in London, 1966
Lydia Delectorskaya
Lydia Delectorskaya and Henri Matisse

 

Henri Matisse was buried at the Monastère et Cimetière de Cimiez, in Nice, France.

The artist’s sons, Pierre Matisse (L) and Jean Matisse (R), walk beside their mother Amélie at the funeral of the great artist
The funeral procession of Henri Matisse, Monastère et Cimetière de Cimiez, Nice, France

Edited from:

Barnes Foundation Matisse painting undergoes analysis to explore color changes


Henri Matisse

Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series
December 31, 2016
(click image for full resolution)

 


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Erté

Erté

Erté (23 November 1892 – 21 April 1990) was a Russian-born French artist and designer. He was a diversely talented 20th-century artist and designer who flourished in an array of fields, including fashion, jewelry, graphic arts, costume and set design for film, theatre, and opera, and interior decor.

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Erté was born Roman Petrovich Tyrtov (Роман Петрович Тыртов) in Saint Petersburg, to a distinguished family with roots tracing back to 1548. His father, Pyotr Ivanovich Tyrtov, served as an admiral in the Russian Fleet.

St. Petersburg, as seen in the late 1800's
St. Petersburg, as seen in the late 1800’s

In 1907, he lived one year in Paris. He said about this time “I did not discover Beardsley until when I had already been in Paris for a year”. In 1910–12, Romain moved to Paris to pursue a career as a designer. He made this decision despite strong objections from his father, who wanted Romain to continue the family tradition and become a naval officer. Romain assumed his pseudonym to avoid disgracing the family. He chose the the pseudonym Erté, from the French pronunciation of his initials.

erte2

From 1913-1914, he worked for famed fashion designer, a master couturier, Paul Poiret. In 1915, he secured his first substantial contract with Harper’s Bazaar magazine, and thus launched an illustrious career that included designing costumes and stage sets.

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Between 1915–1937, Erté designed over 200 covers for Harper’s Bazaar, and his illustrations would also appear in such publications as Illustrated London News, Cosmopolitan, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Vogue.

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Erté is perhaps most famous for his elegant fashion designs which capture the art deco period in which he worked. One of his earliest successes was designing apparel for the popular French singer and dancer Gaby Deslys who died in 1920, a victim of the Spanish Flu pandemic of that time.

Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys

He was also a designer for Mata Hari, the Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was later convicted of being a spy and executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I.

Mata Hari
Mata Hari
Mata Hari
Mata Hari
Mata Hari
Mata Hari

Erté’s delicate figures and sophisticated, glamorous designs are instantly recognizable, and his ideas and art still influence fashion into the 21st century. His costumes, program designs, and sets were featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923, many productions of the Folies Bergère, and George White’s Scandals.

Erté in one of his designs
Erté in one of his designs

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On Broadway, the celebrated French chanteuse Irène Bordoni was often seen in Erté’s designs.

Irene Bordoni
Irene Bordoni
Irene Bordoni
Irene Bordoni

In 1925, Louis B. Mayer brought him to Hollywood to design sets and costumes for the silent film Paris. There were many script problems, so Erté was given other assignments to keep him busy. Hence, he designed for such films as Ben-Hur, The Mystic, Time, The Comedian, and Dance Madness. In 1920 he designed the set and costumes for the film The Restless Sex starring Marion Davies and financed by William Randolph Hearst.

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Costume for "The Mystic"
Costume for “The Mystic”
Ballroom design for the film, "The Restless Sex"
Ballroom design for the film, “The Restless Sex”

By far, his best known image is Symphony in Black, depicting a somewhat stylized, tall, slender woman draped in black holding a thin black dog on a leash. The influential image has been reproduced and copied countless times.

at-the-theatre-symphony-in-black
Erté continued working throughout his life, designing revues, ballets, and operas. He had a major rejuvenation and much lauded interest in his career during the 1960s with the Art Deco revival. He branched out into the realm of limited edition prints, bronzes, and wearable art.

Twiggy photographed by Bill King for the cover of Queen magazine, December, 1967. Hair by Michael at Leonard, Make-up by Guerlain, styling by Erté.
Twiggy photographed by Bill King for the cover of Queen magazine, December, 1967. Hair by Michael at Leonard, Make-up by Guerlain, styling by Erté.
Jacket by Erté
Jacket by Erté
Bronze figurine, 1960's
Bronze figurine, 1960’s

A major turning point in his career came in 1965, when he met Eric and Salome Estorick, the founders of Seven Arts Ltd. of New York and London. Seven Arts remained the exclusive agent for Erte’s work until his death.

The Estoricks
Salome and Eric Estorick

In 1998, he created seven limited edition bottle designs for Courvoisier to show the different stages of the cognac-making process, from distillation to maturation. In 2008, the eighth and final of the remaining Erte-designed Courvoisier bottles, containing Grande Champagne cognac dating back to 1892, was released and sold for $10,000 a piece.

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A slightly built man with a shock of white hair, he fell ill with kidney problems during a vacation on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, in March of 1990. He was flown back to Paris and died two weeks later at the Cochin Hospital, at the age of 97.

Image by © Sergio Gaudenti/Kipa/Corbis
Image by © Sergio Gaudenti/Kipa/Corbis

Erte was known for his ability to turn his talent in many directions. He reportedly painted only once in oils, preferring the gouache or tempera medium. He accepted commissions to design jewelry, lamps, furniture and interior decor.

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Today, his work may be found in the collections of several well-known museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); as well, a sizable collection of his work can be found at Museum 1999 in Tokyo.


Edited from:


Erté
From Artist Birthday Series: November 23, 2016

Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:
(click image for full resolution)

erte-feat2

 


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Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
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Hannah Höch

Hannah Höch: visual artist

Hannah Höch (November 1, 1889 – May 31, 1978) was a German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage. Her work existed to dismantle the fable and dichotomy that existed in the concept of the “New Woman”: an energetic, professional and androgynous woman, who is ready to take their place as man’s equal.

hannah-hoch-profile

Hannah Höch was born Anna Therese Johanne Höch in Gotha, Germany. Although she went to school, domesticity took precedence in her household, and in 1904 at the age of 14, Hannah was taken out of the Höhere Töchterschule in Gotha to care for her youngest sibling Marianne.

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Hannah Höch with one of her Dada dolls, c. 1920

In 1912 she began classes at the School of Applied Arts in Berlin under the guidance of glass designer Harold Bergen. She chose the curriculum glass design and graphic arts, rather than fine arts, to please her father. In 1914, at the start of World War I, she left the school and returned home to Gotha to work with the Red Cross.

hannah-hoch-p
c. 1925

In 1915 she returned to school, entering the graphics class of Emil Orlik at the National Institute of the Museum of Arts and Crafts. Also in 1915, Höch began an influential friendship with Raoul Hausmann, a member of the Berlin Dada movement. Höch’s involvement with the Berlin Dadaists began in earnest in 1917.

Höch, 1915
At 27 years old, 1915

 

Hannah Hoch, 1916
At 28 years old, 1916

It was at this time that Höch became one of the first pioneers of the art form that would come to be known as photomontage. Photomontage (or fotomontage), is a type of collage in which the pasted items are actual photographs or photographic reproductions pulled from the press or other widely produced media.

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After her schooling, she worked in the handicrafts department for Ullstein Verlag (The Ullstein Press), designing dress and embroidery patterns for Die Dame (The Lady) and Die Praktische Berlinerin (The Practical Berlin Woman). The influence of this early work and training can be seen in her later work involving references to dress patterns and textiles.

hannah-hoche28094design-for-darned-filet-1920

In 1920, she participated in the First International Dada Fair, in Berlin, which took on the traditional format of an art salon, but the walls of the site were plastered with posters and photomontages. Höch was allowed to participate only after Hausmann threatened to withdraw his own work from the exhibition if she was kept out. Höch’s large-scale photomontage Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands  (English: Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany) (1919)—a forceful commentary, particularly on the gender issues erupting in postwar Weimar Germany—was one of the most prominently displayed and well-received works of the show. Despite her critical success, as the group’s only woman, Höch was typically patronized by and kept at the margins of the Berlin group. Consequently, she began to move away from the group, including Hausmann, with whom she broke off her relationship in 1922.

Höch (on right) with Raoul Hausmann, at the First International Dada Fair, 1920
Höch (on right) with Raoul Hausmann, at the First International Dada Fair, 1920

 

The First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920 (Hannah Höch, seen on far left)
The First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920 (Hannah Höch, seen on far left)

 

The First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920 (Hannah Höch, seated on left)
The First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920 (Hannah Höch, seated on left)

 

Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands (English: Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany) (1919)
Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands (English: Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany) (1919)

Art historian Maria Makela has characterized Höch’s personal relationship with Raoul Hausmann as “stormy”, and identifies the central cause of their altercations—some of which ended in violence—in Hausmann’s refusal to leave his wife. Hausmann continually disparaged Höch not only for her desire to marry him, which he described as a “bourgeois” inclination, but also for her opinions on art. Hausmann’s hypocritical stance on women’s emancipation spurred Höch to write “a caustic short story” entitled The Painter in 1920, the subject of which is “an artist who is thrown into an intense spiritual crisis when his wife asks him to do the dishes.”

1920
1920

 

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Höch with one of her Dada dolls, c. 1921

From 1926 to 1929 she lived and worked in the Netherlands. Höch made many influential friendships over the years, with Kurt Schwitters and Piet Mondrian among others. In 1926, she met and began a relationship with the Dutch writer and linguist Mathilda (‘Til’) Brugman, whom Höch met through Schwitters. By autumn of 1926, Höch moved to Hague to live with Brugman, where they lived until 1929, at which time they moved to Berlin. Höch and Brugman’s relationship lasted nine years, until 1935. They did not explicitly define their relationship as lesbian (likely because they did not feel it necessary or desirable), instead choosing to refer to it as a “private love relationship.”

Höch and Brugman, 1930
Höch and Brugman, 1930

While the Dadaists, including Georg Schrimpf, Franz Jung, and Johannes Baader, “paid lip service to women’s emancipation,” they were clearly reluctant to include a woman among their ranks. Hans Richter described Höch’s contribution to the Dada movement as the “sandwiches, beer and coffee she managed somehow to conjure up despite the shortage of money.” During their partnership, Raoul Hausmann even suggested that Höch get a job to support him financially. Höch was the lone woman among the Berlin Dada group, although Sophie Täuber, Beatrice Wood, and Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven were also important, and decidedly overlooked, Dada figures. Höch references the hypocrisy of the Berlin Dada group and German society as a whole in her photomontage, Da-Dandy.

Da-Dandy, 1919
Da-Dandy, 1919

In 1935, Höch began a relationship with Kurt Matthies, whom she was married to from 1938 to 1944.

"Hungarian Rhapsody," 1940
“Hungarian Rhapsody,” 1940

Her work commonly combined male and female traits into one unified being. During the era of the Weimar Republic, “mannish women were both celebrated and castigated for breaking down traditional gender roles.” Her androgynous characters may also have been related to her bisexuality and attraction to masculinity in women (that is, attraction to the female form paired with stereotypically masculine characteristics).

hannah-hoch-8 screen-shot-2012-10-17-at-2-40-pm hoch1001

During World War II, Höch spent the years of the Third Reich in Berlin, Germany, keeping a low profile. She lived in Berlin-Heiligensee, a remote area on the outskirts of Berlin, hiding in a small garden house. She married businessman and pianist Kurt Matthies in 1938 and divorced him in 1944. She suffered from the Nazi’s censorship of art, and her work was deemed “degenerate art” making it even more difficult to show her works. She was even forced to hide much of her work by burying it in her yard until the war was over.

1946
1946

Though her work was not acclaimed after the war as it had been before the rise of the Third Reich, she continued to produce her photomontages and exhibit them internationally until her death at the age of 88 in 1978, in Berlin.

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Her house and garden can be visited at the annual Day of the Memorial (Tag des offenen Denkmals).

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Afterword:

In the spring of 2016, my always-art-encouraging husband and I took Dada inspired trip to Switzerland and Germany, specifically to visit three separate exhibitions celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Dada movement. On May 1, we visited the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich, to visit the show DADA Differently: Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Hannah Höch, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven curated by Sabine Schaschl, Margit Weinberg Staber, and Evelyne Bucher. It was a relatively small but perfectly presented collection of works from all three women. Having been a long time devotee of ladies of Dada, I actually burst into tears when taking Höch’s work in for the first time. Thus far, only Van Gogh and Cezanne had brought me to the point of public weeping, so this was a treat, indeed.

That same afternoon, we walked over to the Kunsthaus Zürich to see the Dadaglobe Reconstructed on its last day of exhibition in Europe (the collection was then exhibited at MOMA in New York in the United States from June 12–September 18, 2016), which contained rare pieces from Hannah Höch and others. Dadaglobe Reconstructed reunited over 100 works created for Dadaglobe, Tristan Tzara’s planned but unrealized magnum opus, originally slated for publication in 1921.

One of Hannah Höch's works in the Dadaglobe exhibition in Zurich, May 2016 - featuring a self portrait (seen on left) and portrait of Raoul Hausmann
One of Hannah Höch’s works in the “Dadaglobe: Reconstructed” exhibition in Zurich, May 1, 2016 – featuring a self portrait (seen here on the right) and portrait of Raoul Hausmann –  (photo by TMLipp)

 

View of Dadaglobe: Reconstructed, at the Kunsthaus Zürich, May 1, 2016
View of “Dadaglobe: Reconstructed,” at the Kunsthaus Zürich, May 1, 2016 (photo by TMLipp)

We then traveled to Germany and the gorgeous city of Mannheim, where the Kunsthalle Mannheim organized a large, impressive solo exhibition of Höch’s work, which we were honored to get the chance to see on May 6.  Nine large rooms held the collection, with a tenth, interactive room where one could watch a wonderful documentary about Höch’s life, or one could play with the wall of make-your-own-photomontage-Dada-contruction-from-wall-magnets (which I enjoyed immensely). The collection was comprehensive, breathtaking, and emotionally touching, and we spent hours slowly moving through the dreamland of Höch’s work.

Comprehensive exhibition of the work by Hannah Höch, Kunsthalle Mannheim (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)
Exhibition of the work by Hannah Höch, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 

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Exhibition of the work by Hannah Höch, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 

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Exhibition of the work by Hannah Höch, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 

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“Self Portrait of MyDadaSelf” by TMLipp, created at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany, during the exhibtion of the work by Hannah Höch. (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 

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Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 


Edited from:


Hannah Höch, November 1, 2016

Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:
(click image for full resolution)

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