Thomas Theodor Heine Biography

Heine created the Simplicissimus poster in 1897 as one of the co-founders of the satirical magazine "Simplicissimus". For maximum effect he deliberately used the traditional German colors  -schwarz/weiss/rot (black/white/red). His powerful image marked a radical departure from the then prevalent Art Nouveau style (Cheret, Mucha, etc.). Not only would the poster bring him international acclaim but it would also spawn an entire new genre in graphic design. There would be countless imitations: for example Knab in 1902 would use a very similar style in his poster for another weekly "Die Woche" and Hohlwein was so smitten by Heine's poster that he adopted the dog for his famous poster of the Polo Player. Cognoscenti regard it as no less than one of the greatest seminal posters of the 20th Century.

In time Heine's poster would come to symbolize Man's eternal struggle against oppression, prejudice and intolerance unlike any other poster before or after. Interetingly, Heine would be imprisoned the following year ( 1898) at Castle Koenigstein in Saxony (the same that later became a notorious prison camp for Allied Officers during World War II) on the charge of Insulting His Majesty; his magazine would be banned by the police in Bavaria; still another poster suppressed in Prussia for supporting workers' rights.  Prophetically, many years later Winston Churchill would personify the British Bulldog in his dogged resistance to Hitler. Heine, Jewish himself, had enough foresight to emigrate from Germany in 1933 -first stop  zechoslovakia,then in 1938 Oust in time) to Oslo/Norway, and finally in 1942 to neutral Sweden where he died in 1948. Ironically, in exile he could never recapture the fame and success he had achieved in his native Germany -a fate, incidentally, he shared with many of his compatriot exiles.