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Definition: Heartfield, John (Helmut Hertzfelde) from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

German painter and graphic artist. He was one of the greatest exponents of photomontage. Influenced by the aims and techniques of both Dada and the Neue Sachlichkeit group, he developed a highly original style, employing incongruous images of contemporary German life to satirize capitalism and Nazism.


Summary Article: Heartfield, John (1891–1968) from The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers

German graphic artist, member of the Berlin dada group. Studied at the Munich Kunstgewerbeschule, 1909–12. In 1916 he changed his name from Helmut Herzfelde as a protest against anti-British propaganda. Along with his brother Wieland Herzfelde began publication of a radical anti-war journal Neue Jugend (1916), transforming it into a vehicle for experimental typography. The brothers collaborated with George grosz at Der Malik Verlag, a publishing house for left-wing literature and inexpensive novels. As art director at Malik, Heartfield designed powerful book jackets, combining arresting typography with startling photographic imagery. He and Grosz experimented with the new medium of photomontage from around 1916. Heartfield became the acknowledged master, using the device as a polemical weapon to satirize the emergent Nazi party. Between 1918 and his flight to Prague in 1933 he created many pro-Communist posters. Left Prague for London in 1938 where he designed book jackets for Lindsay Drummond and photomontages for Picture Post and Lilliput Finally moved to Leipzig, East Germany in 1950. During the 1960s created anti-Vietnam War photomontages.

Thames & Hudson © 2012

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