John Heartfield House

Memorials of recent German history
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“You should finally swap this absurd Leipzig climate for the famously excellent climate here” – this was Bertold Brecht’s suggestion to his friend John Heartfield and the latter’s wife Gertrud in a letter dated December 1952 encouraging the couple to move to the Märkische Schweiz. Brecht had moved his summer residence to Buckow shortly beforehand with Helene Weigel and offered to find something suitable.
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  • John Heartfield, Foto: Freundeskreis John Heartfield-Waldsieversdorf e. V. / Frau Dalchau
  • Sommerhaus, Foto: OSTKREUZ Agentur der Fotografen / Annette Hauschild
  • Schreibtisch im Kaminzimmer, Foto: OSTKREUZ Agentur der Fotografen / Annette Hauschild
  • Sommerhaus, Foto: Freundeskreis John Heartfield-Waldsieversdorf e. V. / Johann Bachinger
Heartfield – an artist who became famous for his socio-critical photomontages – increasingly spent the weekends and summers with his wife as guests in the Märkische Schweiz. Suffering poor health, he had returned to Germany from emigration in England. The impact of his work also meant he had got caught up in the political debate regarding “formalism” in art: a communist and passionate opponent of National Socialism, with artistic roots in the Berlin Dada movement, this controversy caused his health to deteriorate further. What is more, the SED leadership was suspicious of all Western immigrants, who were stigmatised as politically unreliable.

In this situation, Waldsieversdorf and the picturesque area around the lake Großer Däbersee became a welcome refuge. In 1956 John Heartfield managed to lease an undeveloped plot of land on the eastern shore of the lake. Using parts of a dismantled first-aid hut on Strausberg airstrip, Heartfield had a lovely summer house created which he and his wife designed with large windows, a winter garden and a roof terrace. 

After the artist's death in 1968, Gertrud Heartfield lived in the house until 1983. After this the East German Academy of Arts took possession of the building and used it as a vacation property until 1990. In 2008, after restitution claims had been clarified, the municipality of Waldsieversdorf acquired the property. Having since been renovated, the building is now run by the friends’ association Freundeskreis John Heartfield-Waldsieversdorf e.V. as a public event and exhibition venue dedicated to the artist’s memory. 

Literature:
  • Michael Krejsa, Ein Freund der unbefestigten Wege. John Heartfield in Waldsieversdorf (1953-1968), Frankfurt (Oder) 2013

Continue readingcollapse
“You should finally swap this absurd Leipzig climate for the famously excellent climate here” – this was Bertold Brecht’s suggestion to his friend John Heartfield and the latter’s wife Gertrud in a letter dated December 1952 encouraging the couple to move to the Märkische Schweiz. Brecht had moved his summer residence to Buckow shortly beforehand with Helene Weigel and offered to find something suitable.
Continue readingcollapse
  • John Heartfield, Foto: Freundeskreis John Heartfield-Waldsieversdorf e. V. / Frau Dalchau
  • Sommerhaus, Foto: OSTKREUZ Agentur der Fotografen / Annette Hauschild
  • Schreibtisch im Kaminzimmer, Foto: OSTKREUZ Agentur der Fotografen / Annette Hauschild
Heartfield – an artist who became famous for his socio-critical photomontages – increasingly spent the weekends and summers with his wife as guests in the Märkische Schweiz. Suffering poor health, he had returned to Germany from emigration in England. The impact of his work also meant he had got caught up in the political debate regarding “formalism” in art: a communist and passionate opponent of National Socialism, with artistic roots in the Berlin Dada movement, this controversy caused his health to deteriorate further. What is more, the SED leadership was suspicious of all Western immigrants, who were stigmatised as politically unreliable.

In this situation, Waldsieversdorf and the picturesque area around the lake Großer Däbersee became a welcome refuge. In 1956 John Heartfield managed to lease an undeveloped plot of land on the eastern shore of the lake. Using parts of a dismantled first-aid hut on Strausberg airstrip, Heartfield had a lovely summer house created which he and his wife designed with large windows, a winter garden and a roof terrace. 

After the artist's death in 1968, Gertrud Heartfield lived in the house until 1983. After this the East German Academy of Arts took possession of the building and used it as a vacation property until 1990. In 2008, after restitution claims had been clarified, the municipality of Waldsieversdorf acquired the property. Having since been renovated, the building is now run by the friends’ association Freundeskreis John Heartfield-Waldsieversdorf e.V. as a public event and exhibition venue dedicated to the artist’s memory. 

Literature:
  • Michael Krejsa, Ein Freund der unbefestigten Wege. John Heartfield in Waldsieversdorf (1953-1968), Frankfurt (Oder) 2013

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Arrival planner

Schwarzer Weg 12

15377 Waldsieversdorf

Weather Today, 29. 1.

-3 2
Windy overnight.

  • Monday
    -1 5
  • Tuesday
    2 5

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Tourismusverband Seenland Oder-Spree e.V.

Ulmenstraße 15
15526 Bad Saarow

Tel.: +49 (0) 33631-868100
Fax: +49 (0) 33631-868102

Weather Today, 29. 1.

-3 2
Windy overnight.

  • Monday
    -1 5
  • Tuesday
    2 5

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