Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Berlin Dada Fair 1920

John Heartfield, Cover of the exhibition catalogue of First International Dada Fair (Erste Internationale Dada-Messe), John Heartfield and Wieland Herzfelde editors, Otto Burchard and Malik-Verlag, July 1920. The fair took place at at Dr. Otto Burchard’s Berlin art gallery.

From left to right: Hausmann, Höch, Dr. Burchard, Baader, Herzfelde, Margarete Herzfelde, Schmallhausen, Grosz (with hat and cane), Heartfield. Heartfield's and Schlichter’s pig soldier can be seen hanging from the ceiling. Here is a 2004 reconstruction of lost 1920 original:

John Heartfield and Rudolf Schlichter's Prussian Archangel assemblage, depicts a pig-headed military officer that the artists suspended from the ceiling. The giant puppet is wrapped with a poster that reads "I come from Heaven, from Heaven on high" - the refrain from a well-known German Christmas carol. The sign dangling below further mocks the military: "In order to understand this work of art completely, one should drill daily for twelve hours with a heavily packed knapsack in full marching order in the Tempelhof Field [a military training ground in Berlin]." When the Prussian Archangel was exhibited in 1920 during the First International Dada Fair, authorities charged the artists with defaming the German army. In the end, Schlichter and Heartfield were acquitted. 

On the left wall we see Otto Dix's 1920 painting Kriegskrüppel (War-Cripples):

This painting was donated to the Stadtmuseum Dresden, and confiscated by Nazis in 1937 as degenerate. It was exhibited at the Entartete Kunst exhibition of degenerate art held in Munich in 1937, and later destroyed by the Nazis.


  1. Ah G! Great. I'm preparing something about Yugoslav avant-garde, will publish it soon I hope.