Working in Germany in the interwar era, John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld, 1891-1968) developed an innovative method of appropriating and reusing photographs to powerful political effect. A pioneer of modern photomontage, he assembled images that transformed the meaning of the mass-media photos from which they were taken. In John Heartfield and the Agitated Image , Andres Mario Zervigon explores this crucial period in the life and work of this brilliant, radical artist whose desire to disclose the truth obscured by the mainstream press and the propaganda of politicians made him a de facto prosecutor of Germany's visual culture. Zervigon charts the evolution of Heartfield's photomontage from an act of antiwar resistance into a formalized and widely disseminated political art in the Weimar Republic, when his work appeared on everything from campaign posters to book covers. He explains how Heartfield's engagement with montage arose from dissatisfaction with photography's capacity to represent the modern world, and the result was likely the most important combination of avantgarde art and politics in the twentieth century. A rare look at Heartfield's early and middle years as an artist and designer, this book provides a new understanding of photography's role at this critical juncture in history.
Full Product DetailsAuthor: Andres Mario Zervigon
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Dimensions: Width: 21.60cm , Height: 3.00cm , Length: 27.90cm
ISBN 10: 0226981770
Publication Date: 16 November 2012
Audience: College/higher education , Undergraduate , Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly
Publisher's Status: Active
Availability: In stock
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Table of Contents
As John Heartfield's grandson, I'm constantly on the lookout for books that help reveal his motivations and illuminate his evolution from unsuccessful young oil painter to world-renowned artist. Andres Mario Zervigon's John Heartfield and the Agitated Image: Photography, Persuasion, and the Rise of Avant-Garde Photomontage is precisely such a book. Professor Zervigon's book shines with the type of research that informs the reader of the passion the author has for his subject. However, it's much more than a scholarly exercise. Professor Zervigon is a gifted writer as well as a respected art historian. He employs his vast knowledge of the Berlin Dada community of the early twentieth century to present fascinating theories regarding the vivid personas of its major players such as John Heartfield, Wieland Herzfelde, George Grosz, and many others. His descriptions of the times, the people, and their actions often read more like an engrossing novel than a work of nonfiction. He brings his subjects to life by presenting a wealth of informative quotations. In short, Professor Zervigon's book is a must read for anyone interested in John Heartfield, his life, his work, and his participation in the one of the most dynamic periods in modern art history. --John J Heartfield, Curator of the John Heartfield, Photomonteur: Official Intern
This lively and original book is a cogently formulated work that will make a welcome addition to the rapidly growing literature on John Heartfield. Andres Mario Zervigon provides a narrative arc for the development of Heartfield's career as a photomonteur , adding much to the story by looking at his work from 1916-19 and 1921-29. Useful and instructive as well as thought-provoking, John Heartfield and the Agitated Image is an enjoyable read. <br><br>--Matthew Witkovsky, Art Institute of Chicago
Andres Mario Zervigon is assistant professor in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University.
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