Raoul Haussmann, Dadaist and photographer

Born in Vienna in 1886, Raoul Hausmann moved to Berlin with his family at the age of fourteen. He first trained in painting under his father. Exposure to Richard Huelsenbeck’s writings and the magazine ‘Cabaret Voltaire’ around 1917 introduced Hausmann to Dadaist thought and in 1918 he joined Huelsenbeck, Johannes Baader, George Grosz and John Heartfield in the founding of the Berlin ‘Dada Club’. During the 1920s and 30s Hausmann was also in contact with the Berlin Constructivists.
His photographic concerns preceded his photographic practice, outlining new demands on photography in theoretical writings. It was not until the late 1920s that Hausmann began using a camera, although he had already begun experimenting with the photographic image.
The relationships between photographic image, the eye and vision as a process of the mind, remained an ongoing concern for Hausmann, stimulated by scientific research. While he had earlier explored photograms, straight photographic capture as well as infrared.
During the 1930s, as a banned artist under Nazism, Hausmann, his wife (who was Jewish) and Vera Broido (with whom the couple lived in a ménage à trois) were forced to flee Germany. They lived subsequently in Ibiza from 1933-36 until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War brought about their relocation to Paris where they stayed until the German occupation of the city forced them to move once more, this time to Limoges, France where Hausmann would remain until his death in 1971.

Raoul Hausmann in our collection

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