In Front of a Red Evening Sun ca. 1945

Hannah Höch, In Front of a Red Evening Sun, ca. 1945; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Though Hannah Höch is best-known as a pioneer of photomontage, her painting In Front of a Red Evening Sun illustrates her ongoing experimentation with abstraction. Höch was one of the founders of Berlin Dada. This international art movement reacted to the horrors of World War I and rejected traditional art forms. Höch exhibited her art—primarily photomontages—until the 1930s when the Nazi regime demanded the end of the Dada movement.

At that time, Höch moved north of Berlin and continued to create art in seclusion. Her post-War paintings often center on the pictorial ideas of flatness, basic geometry, and spatial allusions, which also characterized her early oil paintings from the 1920s. In Front of a Red Evening Sun likely dates to the post-War period. Its flattened, fractured-looking background, simplified geometric shapes, jagged contours, and vivid colors create a visually dynamic composition. Without the descriptive title identifying the prominent red-orange sphere as a sun, the painting could function as purely non-represenational.