MALIK-VERLAG. James Fraser and Steven Heller: THE MALIK-VERLAG 1916 – 1947 [Berlin, Prague, New York]. New York: Goethe House, 1984.

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THE MALIK-VERLAG 1916 - 1947
[Berlin, Prague, New York]

James Fraser and Steven Heller

James Fraser and Steven Heller: THE MALIK-VERLAG 1916 - 1947 [Berlin, Prague, New York]. New York: Goethe House, 1984. First edition. Octavo. Plain card wrappers. Printed dust jacket. 88 pp. Erratum slip laid in. Illustrated with black and white drawings, photos, and sketches. Catalog design by Louise Fili. Jacket rear panel lightly ruffled. Trace of wear overall. A very good to nearly fine copy. Scarce.

7 x 10 softcover book with 88 pages illustrated with black and white drawings, photos, and sketches. Exhibition catalog on the work of the Malik-Verlag, one of the major German publishing houses of the Weimar era, known for left-wing political and avant-garde art. The catalog accompanied an exhibition organized by James Fraser and Steven Heller in the Autumn of 1984, in association with the Madison Campus Library, Fairleigh Dickinson University.

  • Introduction: Steven Heller
  • On Founding the Malik-Verlag: Wieland Herzfelde
  • The Malik-Verlag Remebered:  George Wyland
  • Catalog: James Fraser and Sibylle Fraser
  • Index

Features work by George Grosz and John Heartfield, including Kleine revolutionäre Bibliothek (1920-1923) by Heartfield with illustrations by Grosz and others; the satirical publications Die Pleite and Der Knüppel;  AIZ (Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung), the Communist Party mouthpiece journal, where Heartfield introduced photomontage as a political weapon.

The Malik-Verlag was the left wing publishing house in Berlin founded by John Heartfield and his brother Wieland Herzfeld. During its heyday—1925-1930— the Malik-Verlag was a powerful influence on the development of satire in writing and graphic design in layout. Malik-Verlag played a major developmental role in the expression of Weimar period literature and the cultivation of the avante garde graphic style until after World War II.

This exhibition catalog contains chapters on a legacy appreciated (Steven Heller), the founding of Malik-Verlag (Wieland Herzfelde), Malik-Verlag remembered (George Wyland), and a catalog introduction and notes (James Fraser, Sibylle Fraser).

Helmut Herzfeld [Heartfield, 1891-1968] is known primarily as one of the inventors of photomontage, and as a member of the Berlin Dada group. Heartfield's Dada pieces, virulent photomontages, posters, theatre sets, and book designs show his technique of combining ironic political slogans with stirring imagery. Very strong stuff, much more acerbic than similar work produced by his contemporaries Lissitzky, Rodchenko, Klutsis or Moholy-Nagy.

He broke with the Dadaists, since they did not fulfill his radical conception of the artist's role in society. He had a distaste for the materialism, greed and immorality rampant in Germany in the 1920s. His aim was to mobilize social energy, to expose with his forceful political art the evils, corruption, dangers, and abuses of power in the Nazi regime.

Heartfield trained as a graphic artist in Munich and collaborated extensively with George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann and Hanna Hoch and played a key role in founding the Berlin wing of Dada. Heartfield and Grosz began experimenting with photomontage in 1915-16, later to develop photomontage into a powerful satirical tool. His best known images were published between 1930 and 1938 in the magazine Arbetier-Illustrierte Zeitung, renamed Volks Illustrierte.