||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (November 2013)|
Hannah Höch self-portrait, c.1926
|Birth name||Johanne Höch|
November 1, 1889|
|Died||May 31, 1978
|Training||Berlin College of Arts and Crafts|
|Works||Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the Beer-Belly of the Weimar Republic, 1919|
Hannah Höch was born Anna Therese Johanne Höch in Gotha, Germany. From 1912 to 1914 she studied at the College of Arts and Crafts in Berlin 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, she left the school to work with the Red Cross. In 1915 she returned to school, entering the graphics class of the National Institute of the Museum of Arts and Crafts. Also in 1915, Höch began an influential friendship with Raoul Hausmann, a member of the Berlin Dada movement. Höch's involvement with the Berlin Dadaists 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. Höch made many influential friendships over the years, with Kurt Schwitters and Piet Mondrian among others. Höch, along with Hausmann, was one of the first pioneers of the art form that would come to be known as photomontage.
Höch's relationship with Hausmann
After her involvement with Hausmann ended in 1922, she was involved with women and had a relationship from 1926 to 1929 with the Dutch writer and linguist Til Brugman. She supported reproductive rights for women; she had two abortions during her involvement with Hausmann.
While the Dadaists "paid lip service to women's emancipation," they were clearly reluctant to include a woman among their ranks. Hans Richter 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, and Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven 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 time 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. She was also critical of marriage, often depicting brides as mannequins and children, reflecting the socially pervasive idea of women as incomplete people with little control over their lives. Höch considered herself a 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 traits into one unified being. During the era of the Weimar Republic, "mannish women were both celebrated and castigated for breaking down traditional gender roles." Her androgynous characters may also have been related to her bisexuality and attraction to masculinity in women (that is, attraction to the female form paired with stereotypically masculine characteristics).
Höch spent the years of the Third Reich in Berlin, Germany, keeping a low profile. She lived in Berlin-Heiligensee, a remote area in the outskirts of Berlin, hiding in a small garden house. She married 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).
Höch was a pioneer of the art form that became known as photomontage. 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 mixed and re-created to make a new statement about life and art in the Dada movement.
|Annotated "Cut with the Kitchen Knife...", Flickr|
|Höch's Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada ..., Smarthistory|
- Biro, M. The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. ISBN 0-8166-3620-6
- Chametzky, Peter. Objects as History in Twentieth-Century German Art: Beckmann to Beuys. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.
- Lavin, Maud. Cut With the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Hoch. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1993.
- Lavin, Maud. "The Mess of History or the Unclean Hannah Höch". In: Catherine de Zegher (ed.), Inside the Visible. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston & MIT Press, 1996.
- Makela, Maria, and Peter Boswell, eds. The Photomontages of Hannah Hoch. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1996.
- McBride, Patrizia. "Narrative Resemblance: The Production Of Truth In The Modernist Photobook Of Weimar Germany." New German Critique: An Interdisciplinary Journal Of German Studies 115.(2012): 169-197.
- Meskimmon, Marsha. We Weren't Modern Enough: Women Artists and the Limits of German Modernism. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1999.
- Meskimmon, Marsha & Shearer West, ed. Visions of the 'Neue Frau': Women and the Visual Arts in Weimar Germany. Hants, England: Scolar Press, 1995.
- Noun, Louise R. Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Höch, Käthe Kollwitz and Jeanne Mammen. Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Art Center, 1994.
- Ohff, Heinz. Hannah Höch. Berlin: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, 1968.
- Sante, Luc. "Dada's Girl: Hannah Höch Thumbs Her Nose at Art." Slate. 10 April 1997.
- Raoul Hausmann - a biography of Raoul Hausmann.
- Biro 2009, p. 199.
- "Annotated Cut with the Kitchen Knife". Flickr. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "Höch's Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada ...". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hannah Höch.|
- Chronology of Dada - a chronology of the DaDa movement.
- Cut and Paste - a history of photomontage.
- Essay on Hannah Höch's Picture Book.