Prague: AIZ, 1933. Original artwork. Copper plate for gravure printing. 26 x 18.5 cm. This motif was rendered by John Heartfield three months after he emigrated to Prague in June 1933.
The image depicts an SA-Officer screwing wooden boards to the ends of a cross carried by Jesus, creating thus an image of a Swastika. The image of Christ used here can be traced to the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, AIZ 12, Number 23, 15 June 1933, page 403 (see Evans, page 128). In another rendering of January 1934, AIZ 13, Number 3, 18. January 1935, page 5, (see Evans, page 180), depicting Reichs Bishop Ludwig Müller, the image of the cross appears again: "The Reich Bishop dresses Christendom." During these two years Prague was by no means a secure place for Heartfield and his friends. Printing presses and places of residence had to be changed often and in order to stay incognito the editors of the AIZ used pseudonyms in the imprint.
The plate originally used for AIZ 12:23 issue measures 37 x 26.5 cm. In 1962, Heartfield's brother Wieland Herzfelde in his book "John Heartfield: Leben und Werk," reproduced the image in a smaller format of 20.5 x 15.5 cm. Although we have not been able to identify any extent examples of this image in the format of 26 x 18.5 cm, experts at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, in an elaborate correspondence, expressed that they are certain regarding the authenticity of the plate in our possession. Text on the plate in German. The etched plate is raised with a 2 mm border providing the holes to be mounted for reproduction. Fine condition. Fine. Item #35265