A.I.Z. (Workers' Illustrated Magazine)

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John Heartfield
German, 1891–1968

A.I.Z. (Workers' Illustrated Magazine), 1929–34

Periodicals (Various bound & loose issues)
38.1 x 28 cm (15 x 11 in., bound issues); 37.7 x 27.4 cm (loose issues)
Wirt D. Walker Trust, 2009.488.1-xx

© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

In 1929, following ten years of activity in photomontage and publishing, John Heartfield began working for the left-wing periodical Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ, or Workers’ Illustrated Magazine). The weekly magazine, founded to popularize news and images from a working-class viewpoint, served from the first as a major organ of opposition to the rising National Socialist party. When Hitler took power in early 1933, Heartfield and the AIZ editorial office fled to Prague; many of Heartfield’s best-known covers for the magazine were made in the Czech capital. Among them is this iconic picture of a monumental fist that contains a multitude of arms raised in solidarity. The composition, exceptional for Heartfield in that it shows a picture of inspiration rather than acerbic critique, was undoubtedly influenced by the work of Soviet photomontage artist Gustav Klutsis, particularly a 1932 election poster for which Klutsis repeated the image of his own raised palm numerous times to evoke a crowd acting as one. In 2009 the Art Institute acquired a premier collection of Central and Eastern European photography in print that includes 163 issues of AIZ—one of the largest such holdings in the country—and many other books, periodicals, and posters by both Heartfield and Klutsis.

—Entry, Essential Guide, 2013, p. 294.