Background 1920s 1980s Present Day


In post-war Berlin Hannah Höch met and established a relationship with Raoul Hausmann, one of the driving forces behind Dada. Together they set about learning the techniques of photomontage. Whereas for many of the other Dadaists, this art form was an interesting experiment, later discarded, for Höch it was the beginning of life-long love affair.


She rejected the literal and what she termed "tendentious" approach of John Heartfield, and developed her own unique style, which gained a wider audience and appreciation right up to her death in the 1970s. Many of Hannah Höch's pictures still look astonishingly modern, or rather timeless, as the sophistication of her approach and the universality of her subjects do not date.


Even her early efforts at the "collaborative" Dada style stand out from all the others as the work of a very talented artist. "Cut with The Kitchen Knife" demonstrates her extraordinary ability to balance many elements in a natural composition, besides being a very early example of a female artist expressing her belief in the power of women.


Höch's tempestuous relationship with Hausmann ended in 1923, but this simply heralded another step forward in her creativity. She was much influenced by artists outside of the Berlin group, notably Kurt Schwitters who was a one-man Hanover Dada movement, and Max Ernst from Cologne. Their artistic approach to the medium was more suited to Höch's sensibility than the overtly political propaganda of Heartfield. Schwitters neatly summed up her relationship with Hausmann in the immortal words "Whenever she needs him, she's there for him."


When the rest of the Dada group had to move out of Germany in 1933, Hannah Höch moved to a remote house outside Berlin and remained there throughout the 30s and 40s. Many of the surviving original works from that time spent those years stored at the bottom of a dried out well in Hannah Höch's garden, only to be recovered when the war ended in 1945.


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Hannah Höch

 

 

Cut With The Kitchen Knife

 

Balance

 

Strong-Armed Men

 

Burst Unity

 

Grotesque