John Heartfield


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(b Berlin, 19 June 1891; d East Berlin, 26 Apr. 1968).

German designer, painter, and journalist, a leading light of Dada in Berlin, best known as one of the pioneers and perhaps the greatest of all exponents of photomontage. With Grosz he Anglicized his name during the First World War as a protest against German nationalistic fervour and his finest works are brilliantly satirical attacks—often in the form of book covers and posters—against militarism and Nazism. One of the most famous is Hurrah, die Butter ist alle! (Hurrah, the butter is finished!, 1935), showing a Nazi family, including the baby and dog, eating bicycle chains, hatchets, and other metal implements—a literal interpretation of Hermann Goering's dictum that ‘Iron makes a country strong; butter and lard only make people fat.’ Harassed by the Nazis, Heartfield left Germany in 1938 and moved to London, where his work included designs for Penguin Books. He returned to Germany in 1950.

Subjects: Art.

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