John Heartfield facts for kids

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John Heartfield
1971 East German postal stamp portraying Heartfield
Born (1891-06-19)19 June 1891
Berlin-Schmargendorf, Berlin, German Empire
Died 26 April 1968(1968-04-26) (aged 76)
East Berlin, East Germany
Nationality German, East German
Website johnheartfield.com

John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld; 19 June 1891 – 26 April 1968) was a visual artist who pioneered the use of art as a political weapon. Some of his most famous photomontages were anti-Nazi and anti-fascist statements. Heartfield also created book jackets for book authors, such as Upton Sinclair, as well as stage sets for contemporary playwrights, such as Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator.

He is best known for the 240 political art photo-montages he created from 1930 to 1938, mainly criticising fascism and Nazism. His photo-montages satirising Adolf Hitler and the Nazis often undermine the power and authority of Nazi symbols such as the swastika in order to lessen their propaganda message.

Death and legacy

Following a lifelong history of illness, Heartfield died on 26 April 1968 in East Berlin, East Germany.

After his widow Gertrud Heartfield's death, the East German Academy of the Arts took possession of all of Heartfield's surviving works. When the West German Academy of Arts absorbed the East German Academy, the Heartfield Archive was transferred with it.

From 15 April to 6 July 1993, the New York City Museum of Modern Art hosted an exhibition of Heartfield's original montages.

In 2005, the British Tate Gallery held an exhibition of his photomontage pieces.

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