Raoul Hausmann's Art Critic

Raoul Hausmann's Art Critic
Raoul Hausmann's Art Critic

Raoul Hausmann (1886 – 1971) became the epicenter of the Dadaist movement in Berlin during the 1920s, and he did so both with his publications and with works such as this photocollage and lithograph on paper made in 1919. A creation that is currently exhibited in the Tate Collection in London.


Hausmann's Art Critic

Hausmann was known as the “Dadasophist” for his writings on the theory of Dadaism, many of them published in themagazine Der Dada, which also had political overtones. And the fact is that this artistic trend in Germany was always very close to left-wing approaches and labor movements.

It was an aesthetic that emerged with the aim of protesting against the most bourgeois conventions, and all kinds of techniques were used for this. From written articles to satirical photomontages, like the one we see here.

To make these photomontages, this artist used the most common materials, such as typographies or press clippings, and also his beloved photograph. In fact, when Dadaism went out of style, that is, already in the 30s, Hausmann devoted himself almost exclusively to photo art.

Well, in the case of The Art Critic, what is he satirizing about? It is obviously a criticism of their ownart critics, and not so much because they defend the most traditional or different tastes from those of the Dadaists. The most scathing and acid thing is to insinuate that they can be bought, and that is alluded to with the piece of a bill that comes out of the character's neck. In fact, he dressed us up in the cutout of an expensive three-piece suit, something not everyone could afford.

Actually, there are many other satirical details. You have to look at his eyes, which are blinded, in a clear metaphor for his shortsightedness. And if you look at his mouth, you see that there is a cutout that seems to speak, and he does so to the woman next to him, which would present him to us as a seller of a certain type of art and that he works for a certain public. In this way, he introduces us to someone who is not an impartial critic, but someone with a mainly commercial spirit and who only caters to a certain type of social class.

On the other hand, the character's cheeks are reddened, alluding to the fact that many were drunk at the time of writing their reviews.

To finish, we must pay attention to a detail that in some way can summarize the most absurd aspect of Dadaism. That detail is the way to sign the work. Under the aforementioned lady there is a cutout in which the name of the author, Raoul Hausmann, is read, but he has this position: “President of the Sun, the Moon and the little Earth”. Which can be understood as excessive egocentrism, but also as a criticism of the political environment of the moment in Germany, where there was a power vacuum after the abdication of the kaiserGuillermo for his defeat in World War I.

Popular topic