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Hannah Höch
(November 1, 1889 - 1978) Germany

Hannah Höch



She was born Johanne Höch in Gotha, Turingia, the first of five children. The family was comfortably off, as her father worked in insurance; her mother painted replicas of oil paintings. When 15-year-old, Hannah had to leave the girls' high school to help care for the children at home.

She was 22 before she was able to enter art school; in 1912 she was enrolled at a college in berlin's Charlottenburg, where she studied glass design. But with the outbreak of WWI in 1914 she returned to Gotha, working there for the Red Cross.

Hannah HöchA year later she moved back to Berlin, this time to the college of the museum of arts and crafts, supporting herself financially by working as a designer. Back to Berlin she met Raoul Hausmann, who was her lover for the next seven years, introducing her to the circles of the artistic avant-garde and, most importantly, to Dada. Höch and Hausmann were the principal instigators of photomontage in Germany.

In 1920 Höch left Hausmann and traveled to Italy. She and Hausmann finally separated in 1922. On a trip to Holland four years later, she met Dutch writer Til Brugman, whom Höch greatly admired. The two women beacame a couple and lived together in The Hague for three years, and, after a move in 1929, for another six in Berlin. Despite this, Höch did not have a public image as lesbian; her own perception of her relationship was as a private affair.

After the two women split, Hannah married a much younger man, Kurt Matthies, in 1938, but they separated in 1942 and were divorced in 1944. After her divorce, she continued to live and work in Berlin until her death.


Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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