23 x 22,5 cm (9 1/8 x 8 7/8 in) (unframed)
42,9 x 36 x 1,5 cm (16 7/8 x 14 1/8 x 5/8 in) (framed)
Signed, dated, inscribed, dedicated recto
As a "degenerate" Dadaist, Hannah Höch lived dangerously during the Nazi dictatorship. Shortly before World War II, in 1939, she withdrew completely to the outskirts of Berlin, to Heiligensee, and a small house with a garden that literally saved her life. Travelling had become unthinkable for many years. "I travel in my garden," she wrote to her sister. Obscure plants, synthetic flowers or machine plants can be found, oscillating between seriousness and play, throughout her work. "Unambiguous ambiguity" is what the Dadaists called it, with plenty of room for irony. The artist loved her garden, but she distrusted all idyllicism. In the 1948 collage Garten, nothing is as it seems. Flowers are embroidered or folded from paper, butterflies painted. And lurking above it all is a voracious giant plant with a blossom made from the tentacles of an octopus. Whether this "flower" spreads terror or protects remains open, as does the question of whether this is a little Garden of Eden or a flora of horrors.