Hannah Höch

Hannah Höch

1889–1978

Artist Details

Birth Place
Gotha, Germany
Death Place
Berlin
Phonetic Spelling
HAHN-ah HUHR-sh
Medium
Drawings and prints; Painting; Performance Art; Photography; Textiles and clothing
Style
Dada; Surrealism
Places of Residence
Paris; The Hague
Training
School of Fine Art, Charlottenburg, Germany, ca. 1916; Staatliche Lehranstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin, 1915; Kunstgewebeschule, Berlin, 1912–14
Retrospective Exhibitions

The Photomontages of Hannah Höch, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, 1997; Hannah Höch 1889-1978: Oil Paintings and Works on Paper, Fischer Fine Art Limited, London, 1983; Kunsthalle, Tübingen, Germany, 1980

NMWA Exhibitions

A History of Women Photographers, 1997
Inside the Visible, 1996

About the Artist

Hannah Höch documented Weimar Germany’s political and social turmoil through paintings, drawings, prints, and, most notably, photomontages.

Höch was born in Gotha, Germany and moved to Berlin in 1912 to study calligraphy, embroidery, wallpaper design, and graphic arts. With Raoul Hausmann, George Grosz, and others, Höch founded Berlin Dada. This international avant-garde movement was reacting to the horrors of World War I and brazenly rejected traditional art forms.

She and Hausmann, who had a turbulent love affair, are often credited with “inventing” photomontage. Using camera-made images, Höch and other Dadaists pieced together works with satirical and ironic messages about the chaotic sociopolitical state in Germany.

Höch showed nine works at the infamous First International Dada Fair in 1920, including her iconic Cut With the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, 1919-1920.

The Dadaists were self-proclaimed radical thinkers who championed women’s rights. But Höch, the only female Berlin Dadaist, was marginalized for her independent spirit, masculine dress, and bisexuality. Her photomontages often confronted gender issues, championing the “New Woman” who was empowered by the vote, sexually emancipated, and financially liberated.

In 1922, Höch ended her relationship with Hausmann and Berlin Dada. She continued to create and exhibit works until the mid-1930s when the Nazi regime demanded the end of the “degenerate” Dada movement. Her compatriots fled the country, but Höch isolated herself in a secluded area of north-west Berlin. She continued to produce artwork until the end of her life.

National Museum of Women in the Arts