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Hannah Höch

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Hannah Höch

*  1889 Gotha
† 1978 Berlin


Hannah Höch began studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin in 1912. She met Raoul Hausmann in 1915 during the First World War and they became close friends. She then continued her studies under Emil Orlik, concentrating on collage techniques. When Hausmann announced the beginning of the Dada movement in 1917, Höch was the only woman among the Dadaists in Berlin. Among her colleagues were Baader, Huelsenbeck, Grosz and Heartfield. She was one of the forerunners in criticising contemporary issues in the form of photomontages, a technique she developed in 1919. She made friends with Hans Arp and Kurt Schwitters at the beginning of the 1920s. Höch met Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian in 1924 in Paris and a trip to Holland in 1926 was extended to a stay of three years. This was when she began making her assemblages out of scrap objects together with her friends Schwitters and Arp. Höch returned to Germany in 1929 to be shocked by the increasing influence of the National Socialist movement. Höch worked on her "Symbolische Landschaften", works with a surreal character and a touch of "Neue Sachlichkeit" until 1933. During the Second World War Höch retreated to a small house in Berlin-Heiligensee. After the end of the war, in 1945, she was one of the first to actively revive artistic life in Berlin and to contribute to the gradual recovery of German art after the war. During the 1950s and 1960s Höch produced not only abstract works but also a large number of highly acclaimed colour collages, which seem to transform reality in an ironic and fantastic manner. She exhibited works at the large Dada exhibitions such as at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1948 and at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in 1958. Other large exhibitions in London and Paris followed. A large retrospective exhibition of Höch's work was organised in 1973 in Paris and then toured to her hometown Berlin. Höch died in 1978 at the age of 88 years in her house in Berlin-Heiligensee.


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