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Raoul Hausmann correspondence, 1909-1971 (bulk 1960-1970)

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Finding aid for the Raoul Hausmann correspondence, 1909-1971, bulk 1960-1970

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.

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