© 2006 Hannah Höch/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Hannah Höch (German, 1889-1978). Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, 1919-1920. Photomontage and collage with watercolor. 44 7/8 x 35 7/16". Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie; © 2006 Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin


(noun) - Photomontage is a kind of collage that is composed primarily of photographs or fragments of photographs in order to direct the viewer's mind toward specific connections. These photographs are glued on a surface.

Hannah Höch's (German, 1889-1978) Cut with a Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany (1919-20) shows us a mixture of modernism (lots of machinery and high-tech stuff of the period) and the "New Woman" through images taken from the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, a well-circulated newspaper at that time.

This photomontage comes from the Dada movement (those anti-art agitators), and we see the word "Dada" just above a photograph of Albert Einstein on the left side. In the center we see a pirouetting ballet dancer who has lost her head, while someone else's head levitates just above her lifted arms. This floating head is a photograph of the German artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), the first woman professor appointed to the Berlin Art Academy.


Lavin, Maud. Cut with a Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Höch
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.