Lot 112
  • 112

Hannah Höch

80,000 - 120,000 USD
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  • Hannah Höch
  • Liebe in Busch (love in the bush)
  • Signed with the initials H.H. and dated 25 (lower center); dated 1925 (on the artist's mount)
  • Photomontage with collage on paper laid down on card
  • Image: 8 7/8 by 9 1/4 in.
  • 22.5 by 23.5 cm


Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London
Helen Serger (La Boetie, Inc.), New York
The Benjamin J. Tillar Memorial Trust
Gift of the above in 1971


Iowa, Des Moines Art Center & New York, The Galerie St. Etienne, Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Höch, Käthe Kollwitz, Jeanne Mammen, 1994, no. 19
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; New York, The Museum of Modern Art & Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Photomontages of Hannah Höch, 1996-97, no. 30, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Work is in very good condition. Collage on card laid down on card, which is t-hinged to a mount at the top corners. Work is in remarkably fresh condition. Some minor glue residue visible near the center of the top edge and center of left edge as well as a small, barely visible stain on the hand at left - these seem to be inherent to the artist's process. Some inscriptions with pen and pencil on the back of the card; these are not the hand of the artist. Evidence of prior mountings visible at the top corners on the back of the card.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Often associated with the Berlin Dadaists, Hannah Höch offered a singular and groundbreaking vision amid the tumult in Germany following World War I. Her works offer rare early instances of image appropriation and engagement with mass media—concepts that, though present among a few other Dadaists, would not find parallel emphasis until Pop art of the 1960s. It is in her photomontages in particular that the power of her artistic voice is most clearly distilled. Peter Boswell writes of her photomontages from the 1920s in a manner that applies to the present work: "In contrast to her paintings from this period, Höch's photomontages eschew the universal and timeless in favor of the immediate. Filled with wit, irony, and citical awareness, they are certainly reflective of the artist's personal concerns; but it is difficult to read them as overtly autobiographical, not in the least because of the public nature of their sources. In these works, Höch composed personalities by piecing together bits of publicly shared material, mimicking the manner in which private identity is composed from a variety of socializing forces" (Peter Boswell, "Hannah Höch: Through the Looking Glass," in The Photomontages of Hannah Höch (exhibition catalogue), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Museum of Modern Art, New York & Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996-97, p. 12).

Liebe in Busch incorporates collage elements that are both photographic and cut paper. While the deliberately shaped paper elements are clearly indebted to the Sythetic Cubism of Picasso and Braque from 1911-12, the photographic elements are unique to Höch's output during the 1920s. According to the artist herself, the genesis of photomontage dates to her early collaborations with fellow artist and lover Raoul Hausmann in the early years following World War I. By 1920 she had created the photomontage which would lead to the since ubiquitous association of her oeuvre with the Dadaists—Küchenmesser Dada durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands (Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany), a work exhibited at the seminal First International Dada Fair in Berlin, 1920 (see fig. 1). Yet, as her subsequent work reveals, Höch's work was not borne of the same nihilism that the Dadaists espoused. Instead she engaged in constructive discourse with the social, political and cultural norms of her time. In Liebe in Busch, Höch addresses directly a series of racial scandals which occurred during the occupation of Germany by Allies in the years following World War I. With playful wit, Höch makes a gesture with this small but potent collage that calls into question the regressive social norms in Weimar Germany.