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120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193

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Updated 8-22-14
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Gallery News / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Hannah Höch (German, 1889-1978)

German Expressionism: Survey I / Survey II / Survey III

"Käthe Kollwitz and German Expressionism" featured over fifty works by Käthe Kollwitz plus additional works by Ernst Barlach, Rudolf Bauer, Max Beckmann, Peter Behrens, Heinrich Campendonck, Marc Chagall, Lovis Corinth, Otto Dix, Lyonel Feininger,
Conrad Felixmuller, Hans Fronius, Otto Greiner, Georg Grosz, Erich Heckel, Hannah Hoch, Karl Hofer, Wassily Kandinsky,
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ludwig Meidner, Edvard Munch, Gabrielle Munter, Heinrich Nauen,
Emile Nolde, Max Pechstein, Hilla von Rebay, Georges Rouault, Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Siegfried Schott,
Georg Tappert, Wilhelm Wagner, and others.

German Expressionist Drawings

The Russians: Chagall, Sonia Delaunay, Goncharova, Larionov, and Malevich
Hannah Höch, born Joanne Höch in Gotha, 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. Her affair and artistic partnership with Raoul Hausmann, a Viennese artist, lasted from 1915 to 1922. She also studied with 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 and Hausmann were pioneers in the making of photocollages; she was also a frequent worker in linocut.

Höch was also a member of the Novembergruppe, group of artists from many media formed in Berlin in December 1918 by Max Pechstein and César Klein. Taking its name from the month of the Weimar Revolution, which occurred in Germany immediately after World War I, the Novembergruppe hoped to bring about a new unity in art, architecture, crafts, and city planning, and to bring the artist into close contact with the worker. In an attempt to establish a dialogue with the common man, the Novembergruppe established the Workers’ Council for Art in 1919. Support, however, came from the middle classes, who—with greater education and more leisure time—more readily accepted this radical, intellectual group and its new (and often abstract) art forms. Among the leading figures associated with the Novembergruppe were the architects Walter Gropius, Erich Mendelsohn, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Hans Poelzig, and Bruno Taut; the painters El Lissitzky, Lyonel Feininger, Otto Müller, and Heinrich Campendonck; the sculptors Gerhard Marcks and Rudolf Belling; the artist and educator László Moholy-Nagy; the filmmakers Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling; the composers Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, and Kurt Weill; and the dramatist Bertolt Brecht. The Novembergruppe’s main activity was holding public exhibitions throughout the 1920s, but it also sponsored lectures and avant-garde concerts and film presentations. The group’s support of socialism and its ideal of unification of the arts were concerns shared by other German organizations of this period, notably the Weimar Bauhaus, which was established in 1919 by Gropius.

Höch was friendly with Arp, Van Doesburg, Moholy-Nagy, and Schwitters. Although after the first World War she was involved with other politically active artists, Höch's works were less political than those of many of the others in the group. From 1926-1929 she lived and worked in Holland where she lived in a lesbian relationship with the Dutch poet Til Brugman. 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. Höch spent the years of the Third Reich in Germany, trying to remain quiet and in the background. She married the much-younger businessman and pianist Kurt Matthies in 1938, divorcing in 1944. 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 color 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. Several of her works were also included in the important retrospective of the DADA movement at the Museum of Modern Art in 2006. Höch died in 1978 at the age of 88 years in her house in Berlin-Heiligensee.

Bibliography: Berlinische Galerie, Hannah Hoch 1889-1978. Ihr Werk, ihr Leben, ihre Freunde. Texts by Jorn Merkert, Cornelia Thaft-Schulz, Peter Krieger, Chris Rehorst, Pavel Liska, Heinz Ohff, Hanne Bergius, Eberhard Roters, Armin Schulz, Maud Lavin, Bern Weise (Berlin: Berlinische Galerie, 1989); Leah Dickerman et al., DADA (NY: Museum of Modern Art, 2005); Galerie Remmert und Barth, Hannah Hoch: Werke und Worte (Dusseldorf: Galerie Remmert und Barth, 1982); Will Grohmann, Hannah Hoch (London: Marlborough Fine Arts, 1966); Maud Lavin, Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Hoch (New Haven: Yale Univ Press, 1993); Ellen Maurer, Hannah Hoch. Jenseits fester Grenzen. Das malerische Werk bis 1945 (Berlin, Gebr. Mann, 1995); Frank Whitford, Hannah Hoch: 1889-1978, Oil Paintings and Works on Paper (New York: La Boetie, Inc., 1983).
Street in Berlin. Original linocut, 1912. 1800 impressions signed in the block. Image size: 206x171mm. Price: $500.
Fruher frost. Original linocut, 1915. 2000 impressions for Kunstblatter 44/45. Image size: 125x92mm. Price: $400.
Kommen flatternde Vogel. Original linocut, c. 1915. Ours is an impression very good quality laid paper measuring 240x272mm signed "H. Höch" and titled on the verso. We believe that this is a trial proof printed c. 1915, but we have never seen an impression from this edition. Image size: 125x97mm. Price: $1750.

In 1964 a later version of this print was published by Galerie Nierendorf in Kunstblätter 6 on a smaller sheet of wove paper with the image rotated 180 degrees from ours in an edition of 2000. An impression from this edition is also available, unsigned and untitled, for $400.
Uberwuchert. Original linocut, 1915. 2000 impressions published in 1980 by Galerie Nierendorf. Ours is a very good impression with rich colors on wove paper. We have never seen an impression published before this edition. Image size: 123x142mm. Price: $500.
Zirkulation. Original linocut, 1916. 2000 impressions for Kunstblatter 44/45. Image size: 103x75mm. Price: $400.
Uberwuchert. Original linocut, 1918. 3000 impressions published in 1980 for the 60th Anniversary of Galerie Nierendorf in Berlin, Höch's dealer. Image size: 148x171mm. Price: $500.
Figurenstudien / Figure Study. Original ink drawing, c. 1930. Signed in ink lower right "H.H. " Image size: 88x56mm. Price: $3750.
Landschaftskomposition / Composition for a landscape. Original ink drawing, c. 1930. Signed in ink lower right "H.H." Image size: 145x66mm. Price: $4250.
Heitere Formen - tanzerisch. Original color woodcut, 1961. 2000 impressions published in 1980 by Galerie Nierendorf. Ours is a very good impression with rich colors on wove paper. We have never seen an impression published before this edition. Image size: 127x92mm. Price: $750.
Cleopatra. Original linocut, 1970. 3000 impressions signed in the block. Image size: 128x73mm. Price: $475.
Der Tag beginnt / Day begins. Original color linocut, 1975. 120 signed and numbered impressions plus 2000 unsigned impressions for Kunstblatter 44/45 (of which ours is one). Image size: 141x120mm. Price: $750.
Die Nacht kommt / The coming of night. Original color linocut, 1975. 120 signed and numbered impressions plus 2000 unsigned impressions for Kunstblatter 44/45 (of which ours is one). Image size: 141x120mm. Price: $750.
Wachsen und Blühen. Original color linocut, 1975. 120 pencil-signed impressions published by Galerie Nierendorf. Image size: 260x355mm. Price: $1950.
Hannah Hoch (German, 1889-1978), Zwei Madchen. Original linocut, 1970. 250 impressions signed in the block for a deluxe printing, of which this is one. Image size: 280x223mm. Price: $850.

There were also 1800 impressions signed in the block printed on thinner paper. Image size: 280x223mm. Price: $500.

Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

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