Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971) was one of the founders of the Dadaist movement in Berlin which, during the First World War, considerably redefined the form and aims of art.
With 700 works and a large set of archives (poems, theoretical texts, correspondence, notebooks and photographic negatives), the Hausmann collection at the Rochechouart departmental museum of contemporary art provides an in-depth view of Raoul Hausmann’s ambitious work and of the historic and intellectual background that nurtured it.
Based on a refusal of the traditional fine arts and an opposition to a culture that the war had proved to be a failure, the work of the Dadaists, searches for a new visual and sound language. This led the members of the movement, including Raoul Hausmann, to create new forms of visual art. These included photomontage and collage, which bring together, in the same visual space, realities taken from everyday life that are distorted in such a way as to create a new meaning and aesthetic that is often dark and absurd.
Hausman was also:
In 1959, Hausmann took up oil painting again, which he had abandoned during the First World War. His gestural paintings and gouaches are well represented in the museum collection.
In 1993, the museum acquired most of Raoul Hausmann’s correspondence since the 1940s. This collection of 6000 letters covers mainly the years between the post-war period to the artist’s death in 1971.
It provides evidence of Hausmann’s relations with the “historic” avant-garde artists (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Hans Richter, Richard Huelsenbeck, etc.) and the neo-avant-gardes of the 1960s (Dick Higgins, Wolf Vostell, etc.), the galleries, institutions (the National Museum of Modern Art, the New York Museum of Modern Art), reviews, publishers, critics, historians, museum curators, etc.
In 1995, the written archives entered the museum with a large number of previously unpublished texts – theoretical texts, poetic texts, drafts, typescripts, notebooks, etc. There are documents on Dada, Optophonetics, photography, etc., which reflect Hausmann’s main interests.
In 1996, over twelve hundred photographic negatives and contact prints were added to the collection.
The annotated inventory of the theoretical texts kept at the Rochechouart departmental museum of contemporary art was drawn up by Adelheid Koch-Didier and published in 1997.
The Rochechouart departmental museum of contemporary art archives cover all the archives from the post-war period (1945-1971) and a large part of the artist’s writing since 1933 and his departure from Germany.