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Barbara Lange

revised by Andrés Mario Zervigón

[Herzfeld, Helmut ]

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

German photomontagist, draughtsman, typographer, stage designer, and film director. After a difficult childhood owing to the persecution of his father for his political beliefs, he studied art at the Königliche Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich from 1907 to 1911, specializing in advertising art. In 1912 he took his first job in a paper packaging company (for which he completed graphic design work) in Mannheim, moving to Berlin in 1913, where he and his brother Wieland Herzfeld made contact with avant-garde circles. (Wieland changed his surname to Herzfelde in early 1914.) Heartfield’s experiences in World War I led him to conclude that the only worthy art was that which took account of social realities (see Eclipse of the Sun on the Rhine, 1957). He destroyed all his early work.

From 1916 Heartfield collaborated closely with George Grosz and in the summer of 1917, like Grosz, anglicized his name, although he did not adopt this form officially until after the war. His earnest criticism of bourgeois society found its expression in his commitment to the ...