It’s Day 100 and I’m scrambling around to get stuff done! Join me in celebrating my 100th painting and today’s artist…Raoul Hausmann! I love this guy…
Raoul Hausmann (July 12, 1886 – February 1, 1971) was an Austrian artist and writer. One of the key figures in Berlin Dada, his experimental photographic collages, sound poetry and institutional critiques would have a profound influence on the European Avant-Garde in the aftermath of World War I.
Raoul Hausmann was born in Vienna but moved to Berlin with his parents at the age of 14, in 1901. His earliest art training was from his father, a professional conservator and painter. He met Johannes Baader, an eccentric architect and another future member of Dada, in 1905. At around the same time he met Elfride Schaeffer, a violinist, whom he married in 1908, a year after the birth of their daughter, Vera. That same year Hausmann enrolled at a private Art School in Berlin, where he remained until 1911.
After seeing Expressionist paintings in Herwarth Walden’s gallery Der Sturm in 1912,
Hausmann started to produce Expressionist prints in Erich Heckel’s studio, and became a staff writer for Walden’s magazine, also called Der Sturm, which provided a platform for his earliest polemical writings against the art establishment. In keeping with his Expressionist colleagues, he initially welcomed the war, believing it to be a necessary cleansing of a calcified society, although being an Austrian citizen living in Germany he was spared the draft.
Hausmann met Hannah Höch in 1915, and embarked upon an extramarital affair that produced an ‘artistically productive but turbulent bond’ that would last until 1922. In 1916 Hausmann met two more people who would become important influences on his subsequent career; the psychoanalyst Otto Gross who believed psychoanalysis to be the preparation for revolution, and the anarchist writer Franz Jung. By now his artistic circle had come to include the writer Salomo Friedlaender, Hans Richter, Emmy Hennings and members of Die Aktion magazine, which, along with Der Sturm and the anarchist paper Die Freie Straße published numerous articles by him in this period.
‘The notion of destruction as an act of creation was the point of departure for Hausmann’s Dadasophy, his theoretical contribution to Berlin Dada.’
When Richard Huelsenbeck, a 24 year old medical student who was a close friend of Hugo Ball and one of the founders of Zurich Dada, returned to Berlin in 1917, Hausmann was one of a group of young disaffected artists that began to form the nucleus of Berlin Dada around him. Huelsenbeck delivered his “First Dada Speech in Germany”, January 22, 1918 at the fashionable art dealer IB Neumann’s gallery, Kurfurstendamm Berlin. Over the course of the next few weeks, Hausmann, Huelsenbeck,George Grosz, John Heartfield, Jung, Höch, Walter Mehring and Baader started the Club Dada. The first event staged was an evening of poetry performances and lectures against the backdrop of a retrospective of paintings by the establishment artist Lovis Corinth at the Berlin Sezession, April 12, 1918. Amongst the contributors, Huelsenbeck recited the Dada Manifesto, Grosz danced a “Sincopation” homaging Jazz, whilst Hausmann ended the evening by shouting his manifesto The New Material In Painting at the by-now near riotous audience;
“The threat of violence hung in the air. One envisioned Corinth’s pictures torn
to shreds with chair legs. But in the end it didn’t come to that. As Raoul Hausmann shouted his programmatic plans for dadaist painting into the noise of the crowd, the manager of the sezession gallery turned the lights out on him.”
The call for new materials in painting bore fruit later the same year when Hausmann and Höch holidayed on the Baltic Sea. The guest room they were staying in had a generic portrait of soldiers, onto which the patron had glued photographic portrait heads of his son five times.
“It was like a thunderbolt: one could – I saw it instantaneously – make pictures, assembled entirely from cut-up photographs. Back in Berlin that september, I began to realize this new vision, and I made use of photographs from the press and the cinema.” Hausmann, 1958
The photomontage became the technique most associated with Berlin Dada, used extensively by Hausmann, Höch, Heartfield, Baader and Grosz, and would prove a crucial influence on Kurt Schwitters, El Lissitsky and Russian Constructivism. It should also be pointed out that Grosz, Heartfield and Baader all laid claim to having invented the technique in later memoirs, although no works have surfaced to justify these claims.
At the same time, Hausmann started to experiment with sound poems he called “phonemes” and “poster poems”, originally created by the
chance lining up of letters by a printer without Hausmann’s direct intervention. Later poems used words which were reversed, chopped up and strung out, then either typed out using a full range of typographical strategies, or performed with boisterous exuberance. Schwitters’ Ursonate was directly influenced by a performance of one of Hausmann’s poems, “fmsbwtazdu”, at an event in Prague in 1921.
He died on February 1, 1971, in Limoges.
Partial biography from wikipedia.
I hope you enjoy my painting/collage/photomontage tribute today. I did because it’s piece 100 and dedicated to that!
I will see you tomorrow on Day 101! Best, Linda