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Finding aid for the Raoul Hausmann correspondence, 1909-1971, bulk 1960-1970
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Raoul Hausmann correspondence
    Date (inclusive): 1909-1971 (bulk 1960-1970)
    Number: 850994
    Creator/Collector: Hausmann, Raoul, 1886-1971
    Physical Description: 0.5 linear feet (1 box)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Austrian artist, one of the founders of the Dada movement; active in Berlin 1912-1933. Collection details Hausmann's life in exile and chronicles his professional activities from 1945 to 1971. Letters to and from artists, writers, dealers, critics, and publishers contain detailed accounts of the original artists of Berlin Dada.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in German and French.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    1886: Born on June 12th in Wein; trains with his father Viktor Hausmann, an academic painter.
    1900: Moves with his parents to Berlin where he dedicates himself to the study of painting and assists his father with the Hamburg City Hall murals.
    1912: Takes part in the first German Herbstsalon des Sturm and begins working for the Expressionist newspaper Der Sturm.
    1917-1918: Is employed by the leftist-pacifist newspapers Die Freie Straßs and Die Aktion. Co-founds Club Dada, Berlin; invents the optophonetic poem and photomontage; publishes his first Dada Manifesto; organizes the first Dada Soireen in Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, and Prague, with Huelsenbeck, Heartfield, Grosz, Jung, Höch.
    1919-1920: Edits volume No.3 of the journal Dada (Malik-Verlag) with Grosz and Heartfield and organizes the Große Internationale Dada-Messe at the Galerie Nierendorf, Berlin. Breaks with Grosz and Heartfield after they join the Communist Party, effectively ending Club Dada.
    1921: Holds an Anti-Dada Abend in Prague with Kurt Schwitters; formulates his article "Presentismus gegen den Puffkeismus der teuschen Seele," and signs the Aufruf zur Elementaren Kunst with Arp, Maholy-Nagy and Istvan.
    1922: Establishes close contact with the Constructivists and circle of the Hungarian exile newspaper MA (Lajos Kassak). Takes part in activities of Progressive Artists in Düsselsdorf and Köln. Relinquishes painting and dedicates himself to the technical investigation of electro-acoustical optics; invents the "optophone," a device that synchronizes sound and light waves (this invention was rejected in Berlin but patented in London, 1935).
    1923-1930: Publishes articles investigating the organic conception of art and social science; works for the satirical newspaper Die Pleite; begins his novel Hyle and undertakes systematic work in photography.
    1931-1932: Delivers the opening lecture at the photographic exhibition in the Kunstbibliothek, Berlin; publishes several articles on the subject of photographic theory, most notably "Wie sieht der Fotograf? -Gespräch zwischen Raoul Hausmann und Werner Gräff," Das Deutsche Lichtbild (Berlin, 1932).
    1933-1936: Flees Germany on March 1st to the island of Ibiza, where he undertakes intensive photographic analysis of ethnological themes, archeology and indigenous architecture. Completes Hyle and begins publishing photographs in the Swiss journal Camera and in Man Ray's album Nus.
    1936: Flees Spain for Zürich and later immigrates to Prague, establishing contact with the Czech avantgarde and exiled Germans; experiments with infrared photography.
    1938: Returns to Paris; continues publishing his photographs, and establishes contact with Moholy-Nagy to arrange a publication of his photos in the US.
    1939: Upon outbreak of war, flees to Peyrat-le-Château (Haute-Vienne) where he teaches languages and eventually finds refuge in the French town of Limoges (1944).
    1945: Re-establishes contact and correspondence with his close friends (Moholy-Nagy, Schwitters, Hans Richter, Richard Huelsenbeck); plans with Schwitters to establish an avantgarde journal called PIN; returns to painting and the production of abstract photograms and photo-pictograms.
    1948: Begins the publication of numerous articles on the subject of modern poetry in French literary journals.
    1953: Exhibits his abstract photo-experiments in the Kunstschule Saarbrücken with the assistance of Otto Steinert.
    1958: Takes part in the famous Dada exhibition in Frankfurt-Düsseldorf which instigated the Fluxus movement.
    1967: First large retrospective of his artwork, in the Modern Museum, Stockholm.
    1969: Publishes MELANOgraphie, a collection of photographic light experiments from 1931; publishes Hyle.
    1970: Publishes a series of articles from 1920-1970 under the title Sensorialité excentrique in cooperation with Henri Chopin.
    1971: Publishes his final book Sagemorim. Dies on February 1st in Limoges, France.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Raoul Hausmann correspondence, 1909-1971, bulk 1960-1970, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 850994.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1985, 1990-1991, and 1993-1994

    Processing History

    This integrated finding aid was first written by Scott C. Wolf in 1995. The collection combines 9 separate acquisitions: 850994 (Hausmann Correspondence); 900199 (Pierre Garnier Correspondence); 910155 (Reichardt and Themerson Correspondence); 930001 (Fritz Picard Correspondence); 930020 (Henri Chopin Correspondence); 930041 (Georges Hugnet Correspondence); 940045 (Renée Sulzbach Correspondence); 930048 (Elfriede Hausmann Correspondence); and 940066 (Paul Citroen Correspondence). The finding aid was extensively edited by Annette Leddy with Scott Wolf in January 1996.

    Separated Materials

    The following items were removed from the Hausmann papers and placed in the Getty Research Library's general collection.
    Raoul Hausmann, Traité de questions sans solutions importantes (Bale, 1957). "Examplar No.22" of 350 printed copies with autograph signature by the author and dedication from Hausmann to Jasia Reichardt dated Nov 4, 1965.

    90-B29558-3 Raoul Hausmann, Courrier Dada suivi d'une Bio-Bibliographie de l'Auteur par Poupard-Lieussou (Paris, 1958). Exemplar No.2 of 50 printed copies with an extensive (poetic) autograph dedication from Hausmann to Poupard-Lieussou signed 11/7/1959. Accompanying the text is 1 phonographic recording of Hausmann's Sound Poetry; 1 audio cassette tape of the same; and 1 autographed water color sketch.

    88-B24319-4 Raoul Hausmann, Poèmes et Bois. Cinq poèmes précèdes d'un hommage par Iliazd (Paris, 1961). Exemplar No.4 of 50 printed copies, signed by Hausmann and Iliazd.

    Special Oversized 93-B10345 (N 7433.4 H376 A1 1961) Raoul Hausmann, Siebensachen (Stuttgart, 1961). Exemplar No. 33 of 90 signed copies with autograph dedication from Hausmann to Poupard-Lieussou dated 2/18/62.

    Special 93-B11187 Affiche für Raoul Hausmann in Limonges anlässlich seines 75. Geburtstages. (Stuttgart, 1961). 1 poster (1 of 250 exemplars) with printed poems by Hausmann and autograph dedication from Hausmann to Poupard-Liessou dated 5/25/61.

    Special 93-B11484 Raoul Hausmann, Sprechspäne (Flensburg, 1962). Exemplar No.376 of 700 printed copies with an autograph dedication from Hausmann to Poupard-Lieussou dated ( ).

    Special 89-B14587-2 Raoul Hausmann, Mélanographie (Paris, 1968). Exemplar No.23 of 61 signed copies, with 6 original photographs (initialed and numbered "RH 31"), an original photomontaged cover, and autograph dedication by Hausmann to Poupard-Lieussou dated 3/12/69.

    Special 93-B10331 Raoul Hausmann, La sensorialité excentrique 1968/69 précédé de: optophonétique 1922, French and English texts (Cambridge, 1970). Exemplar No. 197 of 440 printed copies with autograph dedication from Hausmann to Poupard-Lieussou dated 1/20/71. Also included are 2 photocopies of advertisements for the book.

    Special 90-B5161-2 Raoul Hausmann, Sagemorcim (Bruxelles, 1971). Exemplar No. XXVI of 340 printed copies.

    Special 90-B11214-2 Raoul Hausmann, Am Anfang war Dada (Steinbach/Giessen, 1972).

    Special 89-B7888-2 Mostra personale di Raoul Hausmann (Milano: Galleria Pagani, 1963).

    Special 93-B10265 Raoul Hausmann (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1967). With autograph dedication from Hausmann to Poupard-Lieussou dated 11/15/67.

    Special 85-B15350-4 Raoul Hausmann disegni e collages 1960-1970, text by Jean-François Bory and Claude Viallat (Brescia, 1972).

    Special 90-B29779 Raoul Hausmann autour de L'Espirt de notre temps. assemblages, collages, photomontages (Paris: Musée National d'Art Moderne, 1974/75).

    Special 89-B7738 Hans Arp, Muscheln und Schirme (Meudon-Val-Fleury, 1939). This item is signed "Hausmann Paris 1939" and contains and autograph dedication to Poupard dated (7/18/56).

    Special 89-B 23430-2

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains Raoul Hausmann correspondence (ca. 420 letters), and a few manuscripts and clippings, acquired in several separate acquisitions. Groups of letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Letters and the occasional manuscript in each correspondent group are arranged chronologically. These materials date from the immediate post-war period to 1971, the bulk of material being from the 1960s.
    Most of the letters are from Hausmann and record the exiled author's successful attempts first to secure his material existence in post-war France and then to re-establish contact with avantgarde artists, publishers and art dealers. They tacitly document the recognition Hausmann received during the latter half of his life, and that which was accorded Dada through Hausmann's vigilance. Some letters contain detailed historical accounts of the original artists of Berlin Dada as well as precise definitions of their artistic inventions and techniques. There is a great deal of information about optophoneticism and the optophone, Hausmann's invention. The letters also comment critically on a broad array of political events, including the Cold War, the Indochina conflict, 1968 student demonstrations, labor strikes, and deaths of leading political figures, though Hausmann was apparently reticent to commit to any ideological position or direct engagement with political groups. Moreover, he repeatedly denies Berlin Dada's political content, revising events in terms of his own apolitical perspective and distancing himself from his early association with George Grosz, John Heartfield and Wieland Herzfelde.

    Arrangement note

    The material is arranged in one series, with the bulk of the letters being to and from Henri Chopin, Pierre Garnier, Jasia Reichardt, Kurt Schwitters and Renée Sulzbach.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Chopin, Henri
    Garnier, Pierre
    Hausmann, Raoul, 1886-1971
    Heartfield, John, 1891-1968
    Höch, Hannah, 1889-1978
    Reichardt, Jasia
    Schwitters, Kurt, 1887-1948
    Sulzbach, Renée

    Subjects - Topics

    Art, Modern--20th century
    Assemblage (Art)
    Avant-garde (Aesthetics)
    Concrete poetry--England--Exhibitions
    Expatriate artists
    Fluxus (Group of artists)
    Sound poetry

    Genres and Forms of Material



    Chopin, Henri
    Garnier, Pierre
    Hausmann, Elfriede
    Hausmann, Vera
    Karpel, Bernard, 1911-
    Maciunas, George, 1931-1978
    Reichardt, Jasia
    Schwitters, Kurt, 1887-1948
    Sulzbach, Renée
    Themerson, Stefan