• Johannes Theodor Baargeld [pseudonym for Alfred Emanuel Ferdinand Gruenwald] was born on October 9, 1892, in Stettin (then Germany). He grew up in Cologne. After finishing gymnasium, Baargeld studied law and economics at Oxford from 1912 to 1913 and continued at the university in Bonn. With the outbreak of war in 1914, Baargeld enlisted and served as a reserve lieutenant from 1914 to 1917. In 1917 he started to write lyrical and political texts for Pfemfert's journal Die Aktion. In 1918 Baargeld joined the Independent Socialist Party of Germany (USPD).
  • With Max Ernst, Baargeld (also called Zentrodada) founded Dada in Cologne in the summer of 1919. Earlier Baargeld financed the publication of a left-oriented periodical Der Ventilator. The journal served as a satirical political and artistic forum for members of what would become Cologne Dada, including Angelika and Heinrich Hoerle.
  • After Der Ventilator, Baargeld focused on the Dada publications Bulletin D and die schammade, a compilation of Dada activities in Cologne, Paris, and Zurich co-edited with Ernst. Though Baargeld's initial contributions to Cologne Dada were in the form of political texts and poetry, he developed his visual skills as an autodidact, preferring nontraditional media of collage, photomontage, assemblage, and typography. His dadaist works typically combined provocatively enigmatic text with illustrations or found images.
  • Baargeld died on August 17 or 18, 1927, at the age of thirty-four.
    More extensive is Sabine T. Kriebel, 'Johannes Baargeld', published in Leah Dickerman (ed.), Dada. Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris (National Gallery of Art : Washington DC 2005) 462 and online available at Dada biographies: Johannes Baader, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. The article is translated in French and published in Dada / Catalogue publié sous la direction de Laurent Le Bon (Éditions du Centre Pompidou : Paris 2005) 134.
    Johannes Baargeld [Alfred Ferdinand Gruenwald], 1924 [Collection of Lotte Hansen, Krueth]
  • top
  • Biographical
    banner: Johannes Baargeld [Alfred Ferdinand Gruenwald], 1924 [Collection of Lotte Hansen, Krueth]