Hannah Höch

Hannah Höch

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Hannah Höch'
Start a new discussion about 'Hannah Höch'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Hannah Höch was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

 artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage
Photomontage
Photomontage is the process and result of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining a number of other photographs. The composite picture was sometimes photographed so that the final image is converted back into a seamless photographic print. A similar method, although one that does not...

.

Biography


Hannah Höch was born Anna Therese Johanne Höch in Gotha
Gotha (town)
Gotha is a town in Thuringia, within the central core of Germany. It is the capital of the district of Gotha.- History :The town has existed at least since the 8th century, when it was mentioned in a document signed by Charlemagne as Villa Gotaha . Its importance derives from having been chosen in...

, Germany. From 1912 to 1914 she studied at the College of Arts and Crafts in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 under the guidance of 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
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, she left the school to work with the Red Cross. In 1915 she returned to schooling, entering the graphics class of the National Institute of the Museum of Arts and Crafts
Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin
The Kunstgewerbemuseum, or Museum of Decorative Arts, is an internationally important museum of the decorative arts in Berlin, Germany, part of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin...

. Also in 1915, Höch began an influential friendship with Raoul Hausmann
Raoul Hausmann
Raoul Hausmann was an Austrian artist and writer. One of the key figures in Berlin Dada, his experimental photographic collages, sound poetry and institutional critiques would have a profound influence on the European Avant-Garde in the aftermath of World War I.-Early biography:Raoul Hausmann was...

, a member of the Berlin Dada movement. Höch's involvement with the Berlin Dadists began in earnest in 1919. 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. From 1926 to 1929 she lived and worked in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. Höch made many influential friendships over the years, with Kurt Schwitters
Kurt Schwitters
Kurt Hermann Eduard Karl Julius Schwitters was a German painter who was born in Hanover, Germany. Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography and what came to be known as...

 and Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian
Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian , was a Dutch painter.He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism...

 among others. Hausmann, along with Höch, was one of the first pioneers of the art form that would come to be known as photomontage
Photomontage
Photomontage is the process and result of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining a number of other photographs. The composite picture was sometimes photographed so that the final image is converted back into a seamless photographic print. A similar method, although one that does not...

.

Höch's sexuality and relationship with Hausmann


Höch's personal relationship with Hausmann grew from friendship to romance over time. While this was the first crucial relationship to have an influence on Höch's artistic work, she often reflected upon her relationships in such pieces as Love (1926). After her involvement with Hausmann, she was sexually involved with women and had a relationship from 1926 to 1929 with the Dutch writer and linguist Til Brugman
Til Brugman
Mathilda Brugman was a Dutch poet and linguist.From 1926 to 1936 she lived in The Hague and later in Berlin with the German Dada artist Hannah Höch....

. Hausmann was married to another woman during their involvement, and refused to marry Höch. She supported women's right to reproductive control; she had two abortions during her involvement with Hausmann, who was physically abusive. Höch and Hausmann separated in 1922, at which point Höch was well on her way to becoming an artist in her own right, independent of her involvement with Hausmann. Incidentally, it was during Höch's relationship with Hausmann that both artists began to work more thoroughly with collage
Collage
A collage is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole....

, extending the art form established by cubistic
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

 painters. Höch collaborated with Hausmann, on the piece Dada-Cordial in 1920., and even so Höch was still considered Hausmann's lover and not his equal.

Feminism


While the Dadaists "paid lip service to women's emancipation" they were clearly reluctant to include a woman among their ranks. Hans Richter
Hans Richter (artist)
Hans Richter was a painter, graphic artist, avant-gardist, film-experimenter and producer. He was born in Berlin into a well-to-do family and died in Minusio, near Locarno, Switzerland.-Germany:...

 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." 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
Beatrice Wood
Beatrice Wood was an American artist and studio potter, who late in life was dubbed the "Mama of Dada," and served as a partial inspiration for the character of Rose DeWitt Bukater in James Cameron's 1997 film, Titanic...

, and Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was a German-born avant-garde, Dadaist artist and poet who worked for several years in Greenwich Village, New York City, United States.-Early life:Freytag-Loringhoven was born Elsa Hildegard Plötz in Swinemünde , German Empire,...

 were also important (if overlooked) Dada figures. Höch references the hypocrisy of the Berlin Dada group and German society as a whole in her photomontage, Da-Dandy.

Höch's work at Verlang working with magazines targeted to women made her acutely aware of the difference between women in media and reality, even as the workplace provided her with many of the images that served as raw material for her own work. Marriage did not escape her criticism—she depicted brides as mannequin
Mannequin
A mannequin is an often articulated doll used by artists, tailors, dressmakers, and others especially to display or fit clothing...

s and children, reflecting the idea that women are not seen as complete people and have little control over their lives. Höch saw herself as part of the women's movement in the 1920s, as shown in her depiction of herself in Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands (1919–20). Her pieces also commonly combine male and female into one being. During the era of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

, "mannish women were both celebrated and castigated for breaking down traditional gender roles." Her androgynous
Androgyny
Androgyny is a term derived from the Greek words ανήρ, stem ανδρ- and γυνή , referring to the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics...

 characters may also have been related to her bisexuality
Bisexuality
Bisexuality is sexual behavior or an orientation involving physical or romantic attraction to both males and females, especially with regard to men and women. It is one of the three main classifications of sexual orientation, along with a heterosexual and a homosexual orientation, all a part of the...

, and attraction to masculinity in women. That is, having the shape of woman (even if altered in Höch's work) with the society embraced attitude and outlook of stereo-typed masculinity.

Later years



Höch spent the years of the Third Reich in Berlin, Germany, trying to remain quiet and in the background. She lived in Berlin Heiligensee a remote area in the outskirts of Berlin hiding in a little Gardenhouse. She married the much-younger businessman and pianist Kurt Matthies in 1938 and divorced him in 1944.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 in 1978, in Berlin.
Her House and Garden can be visited at the annual Day of the Memorial. (Tag des offenen Denkmals)

Works



Höch was a pioneer of the art form that became known as photomontage
Photomontage
Photomontage is the process and result of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining a number of other photographs. The composite picture was sometimes photographed so that the final image is converted back into a seamless photographic print. A similar method, although one that does not...

. Many of her pieces sardonically critique the mass culture beauty industry, at the time gaining significant momentum in mass media through the rise of fashion and advertising photography. Her works from 1926 to 1935 often depicted same sex couples, and women were once again a central theme in her work from 1963 to 1973. Höch also made strong statements on racial discrimination. Her most famous piece is Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands ("Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany"), a critique of Weimar Germany in 1919. This piece combines images from newspapers of the time re-created to make a new statement about life and art in the Dada movement.

External links