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Photo by Hannah Höch, 1919
Raoul Hausmann (July 12, 1886 – Feb. 1, 1971); 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.
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...