AIZ Jahrgang XIII - No. 16. April 1934 [WITH] AIZ Special "MIMIKRY"
Prague: AIZ, 1934. First edition. Softcover. Folio (15 x 10 1/2"). 16pp., incl. covers. Original newsprint with photomontage, light brown covers. Protected by modern mylar. This issue features one of the most famous photomontages of Heartfield on the cover, Mimikry. The subtext: 'after all attempts to convey National Socialist ideas to the working class failed, Goebbels had one last, desperate idea: he persuaded the "Führer" to wear a Karl-Marx-Beard in the future when addressing workers.' The issue covers a large fire in Berlin, pornography and pogroms, Vienna children of workers, deep see diving, an article by Egon Erwin Kisch on Sing-Sing, the spirit of Bruck - the future of Austria, an installment of a Walter Schönstedt novel and a contribution on a disarmament conference, all illustrated. Imprint lists offices in Prague, Switzerland, Holland, England and New York, with A. Kertész as representative.
Quarto (8 1/2 x 5 7/8"). 16pp., incl. covers. Original newsprint with same photomontage as above, gray covers. Protected by modern mylar. The subtext on the cover is identical to the issue described above. Content varies with illustrated contributions on the arms race of Krupp and Thyssen, the contrast between rich and poor (Subtitle: One only sees those in the light - those in the shadows one doesn't see), an article on sports in the army (from sports to war), on German anti Soviet propaganda (First of May - Second Plan), the "teachers in history," Munich Räterepublik - council republic), people's trial - blood trial, and an article on German-Soviet relations.
Imprint in both issues listing offices in Prague, Basel, Amsterdam, the Saar territory, New York City and England. Text in German. Very light wear along edges. Very good condition. Item #49802
John Heartfield (1891-1968), born Helmut Herzfeld, is best known for his "Use [of] Photography as a Weapon" - this line was written on a banner above the entrance of the room especially dedicated to his work at the 1929 exhibition "Film und Foto" in Stuttgart. Heartfield saw photomontage, a term coined by the Berlin Dadaists, as a tool of political protest and was best known and admired for his more than fifty photomontage dustjackets for book publications.
His vitae is "littered" with names instrumental in avant-garde movements of the 20th Century: George Grosz, Kurt Schwitters, Jan Tschichold, Herbert Bayer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, El Lissitzky, Alexander Rodchenko, and famously Kurt Tucholsky in his work "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles," to which Heartfield contributed his photomontages. His publishing endeavors included the founding of the Malik Verlag, the Neue Jugend, a magazine published with George Grosz, and his 237 contributions to the AIZ (Illustrated Worker's Newspaper) between 1929 and 1938. During his stay in Russia, 1931-1932, Heartfield contributed to "Soviet Union in Construction," a collaboration between El Lissitzky and Rodchenko, experimenting with photography and photomontage.
With George Grosz Heartfield edited and contributed to the first Communist satirical magazine, Der Knüppel (The Cudgel), from 1923 to 1927. His success in the 1929 Stuttgart Film und Foto exhibition prompted other artists to show interest for the use of photomontage, e.g. Bayer and Moholy-Nagy in the German fashion magazine Neue Linie, and in Russia Rodchenko and Lissitzky as mentioned above.
Brecht congratulated the AIZ on its tenth anniversary in 1931 writing "the camera can lie just like the typesetting machine. The task of A-I-Z to serve truth and reproduce the real facts is of immense importance, and, it seems to me, has been achieved splendidly." (Brecht in AIZ 10, No. 41, 1931). In 1933, after the takeover of the Nazis, Münzenberg moved to Paris and Heartfield to Prague, operating the Malik Verlag and AIZ from there. The last AIZ issue published in Berlin was released on March 5, 1933, and Heartfield began publishing AIZ from Prague later that month. "Heartfield's first photomontage from Prague, Durch Licht zur Nacht (Through light to night; 5/33), a comment on Nazi book burning, appeared on 10 May, 1933." (David Evans, John Heartfield, page 12). The edition for each issue was reduced to 12,000 in Prague, compared to 500,000 in Berlin.
In 1936 Heartfield renamed AIZ to Volks-Illustrierte (VI) and in 1938 the operations were moved to France where seven additional issues without contributions by Heartfield were released between January 15th and February 26, 1939. Heartfield moved to London in 1940, after a narrow escape from the Gestapo. He was not welcomed by the British government but placed in various interment camps which had a severe effect on his health. Eventually he was able to continue his campaign against the Third Reich producing advertisements for the radio broadcast "Freedom Calling," a production utterly despised by Adolf Hitler. In London Heartfield met Gertrud Fietz. They moved to East Germany in 1950 and got married there just before Heartfield's death in 1968.