Images Catalogue

Cat. 1

Raoul Hausmann, Self-portrait, 1901.
 This self-portrait is Hausmann’s first known work of art.  At fifteen years old, he had yet to come into contact with the Dadaists, and he had received most of his artistic training from his father who was a painter and professional conservator.  The academic style of this self-portrait demonstrates the influence of his father.  At the same time, though, it conveys a psychological approach to the subject that shows the undeniable role of Hausmann as both an artist and a designer.  These qualities similarly foreshadow the experimental nature of Raoul Hausmann’s later works.



 Cat. 2

Raoul Hausmann, Untitled, 1914.
 The second self-portrait of Raoul Hausmann is characterized by harsh and dark brushstrokes.  He expresses a severe dramatization that is very likely in response to the imminence of World War I.  The artist pays most attention to the eyes that he creates using thick, black ink.  His distinctive focus on this feature seems to give Hausmann an almost hallucinatory expression filled with anguish and anxiety.  In its’ formal plan, this work conveys a near-perfect assimilation to expressionism, which dominated the creative movements of Germany at the time.


Cat. 3 

Raoul Hausmann, Gurk, 1919.
 After beginning his collaboration with the Berlin Dadaists, Hausmann began to experiment with new forms and media, including collage elements.  This piece demonstrates his ability to use arbitrary forms to suggest a face.  His random and nonsensical writings foreshadow the creation of works like Gurk that fully convey the integration of letter and abstract forms into one piece.  This collage was created by combining clippings from woodcuts of other Dada artists, newspapers, and journals onto a reflective foil surface.



Cat. 4

Raoul Hausmann, Cover of Der Dada, 1919.
 When Huelsenbeck returned to Berlin in 1917, he began to form the nucleus of Berlin Dada around him that included George Grosz, John Heartfield, and Johannes Baader among others.  The group exhibited its’ first show at Isaac Neumann’s Gallery in April 1919 and published the first edition of its’ periodical Der Dada in June.  Hausmann designed the cover and wrote the poem Dadadegie that is displayed.  Within, the publication contained poems, satires, and drawings that are characterized by a multitude of fonts and random nonsensical images.  Experimental typography and the treatment of words became a central theme in Hausmann’s later work.

This publication radically changes the way we would normally interact with a piece of paper. Rather than read from right to left, top to bottom, Der Dada aggressively forces you to turn the paper every which way, to piece together the information, to put in some effort rather than just lazily sitting and staring at a piece of paper. The typography and layout is dynamic, like a still image from an animation.


Cat. 5

Raoul Hausmann, Mechanical Head: Spirit of the Age, 1921.
 Hausmann also experimented with the concept of assemblage.  His only surviving work from this genre is his Mechanical Head.  The body of the piece consists of the head of a mannequin figure that was used for displaying wigs.  Attached to the head are random paraphernalia, including camera parts, the sheds of a crocodile-skin wallet, a ruler, and a metal number 22.  His presentation of a blank and anonymous consciousness seems to be a reflection on the bourgeois capitalist society in which he lived.  The deadened Mechanical Head also directly refutes the celebration of the self-absorbed and egotistical artist espoused by the Expressionists.


Cat. 6

Raoul Hausmann, OFFEAHBDC, 1918.
 Continuing his interest in typography, Hausmann also began to experiment with ‘poster-poems’ and sound poetry that consisted of random strings of letters as phonetic sounds.  They were created using printers without Hausmann’s direct intervention, and they were derived by chance.  He claimed that they conveyed a new “autophonetic” orientation of an “apparently new anarchy”.  The automatism of OFFEAHBDC makes the approach to this piece very different from the rhetorical posters exhibited at the 1920 Dada Messe by artists like George Grosz.  Ultimately, the poster poem seems to heighten the apparent indifference of Hausmann and the Berlin Dadaists.


Cat. 7

Raoul Hausmann, ABCD, 1923-4.
By the end of 1920, the collaborative nature of Berlin Dada had come to an end, and Hausmann executed this final photomontage in 1923.  This piece, which is also a self-portrait, contrasts sharply with his original images of himself.  His face is displayed prominently in the center of the composition as the announcement of his performance of a phonetic poem sits below.  Unlike his early self-portraits that seem to alienate the artist, this work has a sense of practicality and demonstrates an awareness of the world.  The development of this socially-conscious and non-elitist art remains one of Hausmann’s greatest achievements in Berlin Dada.

Cat. 8

Hannah Höch, Album page, 1933

 But one of a 114-page album filled with magazine cuttings, this page was used by Höch as a form of sketchbook. This is evident in the pencil lines around the cow’s face, which align with an illustration Höch created for a volume of poems by Til Brugman. Strong themes become apparent when looking through the entire album, including female nudes, animals and plant life, and native women. “Since it ...contains no illustrations from the period after 1933, this year is assumed to be the date of execution”1, but the images are dated from anytime between 1920 and 1933.

Cat. 9

Hannah Höch, Bourgeois Wedding Couple, 1919
One of Höch’s first images to confront gender roles, this photomontage comments on the middle class marriage of 1920s Berlin; more specifically that of Raoul Hausmann, who dated Höch for seven years but refused to leave his wife for her. The male figure is a composite of two bodies, with legs that literally run away from his wife while the torso strains toward her. The woman is comprised of three bodies, with an infant head mounted on tense, hunched shoulders. The background images are meat grinders, figuratively implying the “daily grind” of bourgeois marriage.

Cat. 10

Hannah Höch, Untitled, 1921
Yet another Höch commentary on gender roles, this photomontage centers on a dancing woman. Cut from an image of Claudia Pawlowa dancing on the beach, the woman’s head is replaced by that of another whose pensive gaze directly connects with the viewer. The machines surrounding the dancer make the composition feel claustrophobic. The kitchen appliances in the bottom right corner are the same as those in the background of Bourgeois Wedding Couple (1919), and the background image is that of a sewing pattern that Höch most likely obtained through her job as a pattern designer with Ullstein Press2

Cat. 11

Hannah Höch, Weiße Form, 1919
This image directly attacks the historic notion that handicraft could not be considered fine art. The elements for the composition are both patterns that Höch encountered in her job as a pattern designer for Ullstein Press. The central figure is created from a sewing pattern, and the background is three copies of a pattern for lace and tulle embroidery. Using the patterns to roughly created the shape of an eye at the center of the image, Höch gazes out at art critics and museum goers alike in a direct challenge to the age old question of “What is art?”.

Cat. 12

Hannah Höch, Poesie, 1922
Slightly later than Höch’s famous Dada photomontages, this collage incorporates a background drawn in ink with abstract cut-paper shapes and words taken from printed material. The pasted words create a rather dark “poem” that contrasts with the lightweight composition:

Die jungfrau
pumpt feierlich träume
nacht verstopft


ist das Weltgewissen.

balzt trott
poesie trott

The Virgin
pumped somenly dream
night clogged

Tandaradei (defined by the Wörterbuch dictionary as an interjection without meaning)

dark is the world some

balzt trott
poem trott

This work was created in the same year that Höch’s relationship with Raoul Hausmann ended, and is the beginning of her transition from exclusively photomontage to a wider variety of medium.

Cat. 13

Hannah Höch, Der Vater, 1920
Titled “The Father”, this photomontage centers around a male-female composite figure who is holding a baby that has one black eye and is being punched in the face by a professional boxer. Female dancers leap and twirl around this action, adding whimsy and irony to the tragic situation of a beaten child. The man’s head, of which one eye and half of the mouth has been covered with a woman’s features, is propped on a female torso dressed in gauzy silks with a disjointed set of legs. This figure is a blatant exploration of gender roles in the family construct.

Cat. 14

Hannah Höch, Zwei Dada-Puppen, 1920

These hand-sewn dolls were one of the seven works Höch exhibited in the First International Dada Fair. Far from the child’s toy image that the name implies, these dolls were a sharp commentary on marriage in 1920s Germany. Titled Dada Puppets, the work implies that marriage is an act of control or puppetry. The work has also been called Mechanical Wedding Couple, despite the fact that there was nothing mechanical in the creation or materials of the dolls. The use of the term “mechanical” here implies that marriage itself was the  mechanism, lacking love or passion.

Cat. 15

George Grosz, Shell, 1915
Pen and Ink
Many of Grosz’ drawings done during the war years show the world in a state of chaos, murder, and decay, reflecting his unsettled and shell-shocked state of mind. This quick sketch could have been done in the trenches of war. As clouds of smoke billow into the sky, bodies are strewn across the ground and people are wrenching in agony after suffering from this explosion. This piece is not as grotesque as Grosz’ later work, yet it still gives the viewer the sense of helplessness the artist must have felt when he witnessed the destruction of war.

Cat. 16

George Grosz, Fit for Active Service (K.V.), 1918
Pen, brush and ink
Museum of Modern Art, New York
This cartoon was completed right after Grosz was drafted into the army for a second time in 1917. This bitter drawing depicts a military doctor pronouncing that a still decomposing skeleton is “KV” or Kriegs Verwendungsfähig, which translates to “fit for service.”3 Grosz’ pessimism and satirical tone are obvious in this work. The artist uses the bald pompous German character to make fun of the ignorant beer-belly members of society. Grosz clearly resented the German military for forcing him into service even after he suffered a mental breakdown. This brings to mind the demonstrations of severely disabled war veterans that marched in Berlin displaying their prosthetics and missing limbs.

Cat. 17

George Grosz, The White Slave Trader, 1918
Watercolor, fountain pen and Indian ink on card
Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
This watercolor was executed by George Grosz in 1918 but was published in 1923 in the illustrated portfolio Ecce Homo. This collection of drawings presents notorious characters and types of German society in the early 1900s. This particular piece alludes to the rampant prostitution, also known as the White Slave Trade that was so prevalent in Germany at this time. Young girls well below the age of consent were being forced into prostitution and sometimes offering themselves up willingly to this profession. The influence of Italian Futurism is evident in this piece through the dynamic lines and sense of movement present in the background.

Cat. 18

George Grosz, Communists Fall and the Exchange Rates Rise! /Stamp out Famine, 1919
Pen and ink
This drawing had an alternative title of Blood is the Best Sauce when it was originally published in 1920 in the portfolio Gott mit Uns (God with Us).4 Both titles accurately convey the indifference of the two German aristocrats who enjoy wine and a nice meal, while violence and murder are surrounding them. Once again, we see bitterness, hatred and resentment towards the bald overweight German caricature. Murder is occurring literally right before their eyes and they could not care less. 1919 was a particularly brutal year in Berlin and Grosz was probably witnessing this type of street violence on a daily basis.

Cat. 19

George Grosz, Republican Automatons, 1920
Pen, ink and watercolor
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Republican Automatons contains many Dada influences such as the inclusion of typography, mechanical references and identifiable iconography. The Dadaists rejected traditional views of art and critiqued popular culture through a humorous and satirical style. Disturbed by the atrocities of war, the Dadaists often made references to prosthetics worn by disabled war veterans as seen in Republican Automatons. Grosz is portraying these war supporters as faceless robots, who have no identity but just a number. They are dispensable to the German government and could just as easily be replaced by machines. The cold analytical depiction of the city in the background also adds to the feeling of anonymity in this work. 

Cat. 20

George Grosz, Diamond Racketeer, 1920
Watercolor and collage
Popular amongst the Dadaists, collage was considered a medium through which one could challenge the traditional modes of executing art. It explores the problems of painting, illusion and representation. Collage may still consist of paint but it also incorporates everyday objects in a seemingly random fashion, a style that was preferred by Dada artists for its rebellious connotations. Diamond Racketeer portrays three suspicious characters seemingly engaging in illegal activity. The degenerates of German society were a favorite subject of Grosz’ who sought to expose the corruption and crime that was Weimar Republic predominant culture.

Cat. 21

George Grosz, Daum Marries her Pedantic Automaton George, John Heartfield is Very Glad of It, 1920
Watercolor, pencil, pen and collage on cardboard
Galerie Nierendorf, Berlin, German
In this collage, Grosz is referring to himself as the automaton on the right and also to his friend John Heartfield, a fellow Dadaist, in the title of this work. The automaton is a faceless machine-like contraption which perhaps reflects Grosz’ psyche after experiencing the war first-hand. The woman on the left wears a fashionable hat yet her breasts and genital area are cut out from her undergarments, which is most likely a reference to the hyper-sexuality and heightened presence of prostitution in Germany at this time. The lengthy title, use of media images and bizarre interior setting all contribute to the strangeness of this piece, making it a true Dadaist work.

Cat. 22

John Heartfield, Heartfield and Police Commissioner Zorgiebel, 1929
Featured in AIZ in 1929, this image shows a portrait of John Heartfield beheading a pasted image of Police Commissioner Zorgiebel with a pair of scissors.  Zorgiebel was the SPD police president, whose men had broken up the May Day demonstrations that year.5  In the journal, the image was headed with the quote, “USE PHOTOGRAPHY AS A WEAPON!,” as this image literally combines two photos with a weapon to convey the power that photomontage can hold in relaying a point.  Though one of his later works, a similar message is evident throughout his photomontages post WWI and into WWII.

Cat. 23

John Heartfield, Neue Jugend:  Prospectus for the Little Grosz Portfolio, 1917, Graphic Design Collection (The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art)
An early work of Heartfield, this image presents a skull and crossbones exclaiming “‘Soeben erschienen!’--Just Published!--20 Original Lithographs,” as an advertisement for Prospectus for the Little Grosz Portfolio.  Though the image expresses the principles of photomontage--mixing images with type to emit an underlying message--it fails to relay its views against the SPD.  It indeed took the practices of art outside the frame to counter commercialism--with image and type displayed in every which way, yet it lacked the ability to correspond to the war in which it criticized.6

Cat. 24

John Heartfield, Jedermann Eigner Fussball, 1919, ARTstor Slide Gallery, University of California, San Diego.
A commentary on the Ebert-Scheidemann group that ruled the SPD, Heartfield combines the obscured reality of the “radiant beauty of the Imperial military and ruling socialists,” with the Berlin-Dadaists perspective of this group being nothing more than “gifted beer bellies.”7 The fan with the figures’ busts symbolize this “beautified” image the Ebert-Scheidemann group put out, yet the text juxtaposes this false persona, as Weiland claims that these men are nothing more than chickens.

Cat. 25

John Heartfield, George Grosz.  Simply Classical!, 1919, ARTstor Slide Gallery, University of California, San Diego.
In a collaboration with George Grosz, Heartfield assisted the Schall und Rauch Cabaret to create images promoting the play, “Simply Classical!”--a puppet play satirizing the economic, political, and military events that led to the Weimar Republic.8  Various figures of the SPD are shown, including Ebert, in a typical Grosz illustration with the layout by Heartfield.  Together, Grosz, Heartfield, and the cabaret were able to generate large publicity to expose the SPD, and their suppression of the suffering working class.9

Cats. 26 & 27

John Heartfield, George Grosz, Cover Illustration of Der dada 3, 1920,
and John Heartfield, Woman in Blue, XVII, 1920, page 15 of Der dada 3,
The University of Iowa Libraries,
The two images shown juxtapose Dada and German Expressionism.  Both featured in “Der Dada 3,” the Dada image to the left represents Germany’s turbulent state post-war, as various images are blazoned across the page.  In addition the viewer is confronted with Raoul Hausmann to “Join the Dada Experience!”10--in which a true reality is depicted.  The “expressionist” image to the left, on the other hand, comments on the strong dislike that the Dadaists had towards expressionism.  Referred to as “Quintessential Expressionism,” Heartfield condemns expressionism as being nothing quintessential, but rather, inflicted by the SPD.22

Cat. 28

 John Heartfield, Life and Activity in Universal City at 12:05 in the Afternoon, 1920, ARTstor Slide Gallery, University of California, San Diego.
Used as the backdrop for the First International Dada Fair in 1920, this photomontage depicts Heartfield’s mastery of the medium.12 As the backdrop, the image spoke for the whole Dada group and their attitude against the SPD, World War I, and Germany’s state post-war under the SPD.  Effectively combining various photos and texts, this image stood as the forefront for reflecting the Dada perspective through art.

Cat. 29

John Heartfield, Adolf, the Superman, Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk, 1932, Research Library, The Getty Institute,
Well after the First World War and into the rise of Adolf Hitler, Heartfield sought to expose Hitler for the man he really is.  Full of contradictions--relating to the working class yet benefiting from the upper class--Heartfield conveys Hitler’s false guise through this political propaganda poster.13 Heartfield exposes Hitler’s torso to reveal gold coins streaming down his throat, to reflect the payoffs from the upperclass behind his false message to industrialists.

Cat. 30

To be performed by Huelsenbeck, Janiko, and Tzara, Peome Simultan, 1916, Zurich, Data from: University of California, San Diego.
An example of the early sound poems created by Zurich Dadaists. They were inspired by Futurist linguistic experiments, but differ in their intention to disrupt the modern use of language14. Made to be performed, the Dadaists stood in front of an audience and read aloud the sounds, sometimes including sounds from our own reality. These poems create a kind of new form of communication outside of our reality of language.

Cat. 31

Tristan Tzara, Bulletin, Dada #3, 1918, Zurich

A piece created from snippets of advertisements, this is very much a readymade poem. This radical use of typography allows the viewer to understand that each phrase originates from a different place. Tzara highlights the commodification of language and its use as a tool in capitalist structure.

Cat. 32

Richard Huelsenbeck, George Grosz,  Franz Jung, John Heartfield, (graphic designer), Neue Jugend, 1917, Berlin, Graphic Design Collection (The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art)
The Neue Jugend journal is one of the earliest examples of Berlin Dada typography and layout experimentation. The experimental typography is mix of fonts, color, direction, orientation, color, and size15.  This disorder creates a enough distance to the usual order of a newspaper publication that it allows the viewer a shift in perspective towards something they encounter on an everyday basis.

Cat. 33

Richard Huelsenbeck, Editor, Dada Almanach: Zurich Chronicle by Tzara, Berlin: Erich Reiss Verlag, 1920.
In his Dada Almanach, Huelsenbeck creates a collection of documents about the Dadaist experience. It does not advocate Dada theory or an examination of Dada. Dada cannot be understood; Dada must be experienced16.  This text is chaotic and overwhelming with type experimentation, manifestos, poems, posters, and many other Dada works strewn together.

Cat. 34

Richard Huelsenbeck, En avant Dada: Eine Geschichte des Dadaismus.  (A Hisory of Dadaism), 1920, Berlin Hanover: Paul Steegemann Verlag.
Huelsenbeck tells the history of Dada in his book En Avant Dada. After which he discusses the demands of Dada in Germany, calling for radical social revolution. He creates this cover for the book himself.  Once again language is emphasized with language being used almost as a tool for drawing. The words create lines, making the layout itself into an image that can stand alone without the meaning of the words to give it importance.

Cat. 35

Richard Huelsenbeck (Author), Dadaistisches Manifest, 1920. Berlin, Germany, Elaine Lustig Cohen Collection
In his Dada Manifesto, Huelsenbeck uses typography to confront the viewer. By selectively changing the font, size, and weight of the lettering, Huelsenbeck shifts the importance and power of the words themselves. This allows his writing to have a provocative effect similar to that achieved through advertising.
1. Hannah Höch and Hatje Cantz, Hannah Höch: Album, (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2004).
2. Hannah Höch, Peter W. Boswell, Maria Martha Makela, Carolyn Lanchner, and Kristin Makholm, The photomontages of Hannah Höch, (Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1996), 36.
3. John I. H. Baur, George Grosz, (New York: The Macmillian Company, 1954), 15.  
4. “German Expressionism: Works from the Collection,” accessed October 12, 2012, 
5. Willet, John Heartfield vs. Hitler, 50.
6. Kahn, John Heartfield, 29.
7. Ibid., 32.
8. Gordon, “Dada Berlin,” 122.
9. Ibid., 121.
10. Amelia Arenas,  John Heartfield:  Photomontages,  Exhibition Catalogue, April 15-July 6, 1993, New York:  Museum of Modern Art, 1993.
11. Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, and George Grosz, "Der Dada 3." The University of Iowa Libraries. (accessed October 22, 2012).
12. Eskilon, Graphic Design, 140.
13. "Agitated Images."
14. Richard Huelsenbeck, Dada Almanach, trans. Malcolm Green (London, 1933), v.
15. Mathew Biro. The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin. (Minneapolis, MN,  2009),  29. 
16. Richard Huelsenbeck, Dada Almanach, trans. Malcolm Green (London, 1933), 9.