Top 25 Dada artists who changed its history

In response to the turmoil and destruction of World War I, the Dada art movement began to take shape at the beginning of the 20th century. Dada artists aimed to question conventional notions of art and society and produce works that were centred on the absurd.

Among the best-known Dadaists are Francis Picabia, Hannah Höch, and Marcel Duchamp. These artists aimed to produce works that were unconstrained by conventional artistic standards and were interested in exploring the connection between art and life.

Dada art is frequently distinguished by its use of found objects, collage, and other unconventional mediums, as well as by its focus on performance, use of sarcasm, and comedy. The movement paved the way for other contemporary art movements since it marked a fundamental shift from the representational art that had dominated Western art for millennia.

1. Marcel Duchamp

Dada artists

Born: 28 July 1887, Blainville-Crevon, France

Died: 2 October 1968, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Periods: Dada, Surrealism, Modern art, Cubism, Conceptual art, Section d’Or

Spouse: Alexina Duchamp (m. 1954–1968), Lydie Sarazin-Levassor (m. 1927–1928)

  • Marcel Duchamp was a French artist, sculptor, chess player, and writer.
  • Duchamp was a significant influence on the twentieth century and the art of the twenty-first century, and his work had a profound impact on the evolution of concept art.
  • As a kid and with his two older brothers away from home, he spent time in school and attended Rouen.
  • At the age of eight, Duchamp followed in his brothers’ footsteps as Duchamp left home at age eight and began his education at Lycee Pierre-Corneille. It was located in Rouen.
  • He received his academic drawing instruction from an instructor who tried unsuccessfully to “protect” his students from Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and other avant-garde influences.


2. Jean Arp

Dada artists

Born: 16 September 1886, Strasbourg, France

Died: 7 June 1966, Basel, Switzerland

Periods: Surrealism, Abstract art, Dada, Modern art, Biomorphism

Spouse: Marguerite Hagenbach (m. 1959–1966), Sophie Taeuber-Arp (m. 1922–1943)

  • Hans Peter Wilhelm Arp was a German-French painter, sculptor and poet.
  • He was referred to as a Dadaist and an abstract painter.
  • In 1912, he visited Munich and met with Wassily Kandinsky, a prominent Russian artist known as an art theorist. Kandinsky encouraged Arp in his work and presented his work to members of the Der Blaue Reiter group.
  • Then, in Berlin around 1913, the artist took 1913 in 1913 by Herwarth Walden, a magazine editor and dealer who was considered one of the more influential names of the European avant-garde.
  • In 1920, in the form of Hans Arp, along with Max Ernst and the social activist Alfred Grunwald, he set up his Cologne Dada group.


3. Tristan Tzara

Dada artists

Born: 16 April 1896, Moinești, Romania

Died: 25 December 1963, Paris, France

Period: Dada

Children: Christophe Tzara

  • Tristan Tzara was a Romanian and French avant-garde poet.
  • His work portrayed Dada’s violent aspect, which starkly contrasted with the more moderate style favoured by Hugo Ball.
  • The father was involved in significant debates that resulted in Dada’s break-up in the fight for his principles, fighting Andre Breton and Francis Picabia.
  • Tristan Tzara was an influential actor and author credited for establishing a link between Cubism and Futurism during the Beat Generation.


4. Salvador Dali

Dada artists

Born: 11 May 1904, Figueres, Spain

Died: 23 January 1989, Figueres, Spain

Periods: Surrealism, Cubism, Modern art, Dada

Spouse: Gala Dalí (m. 1934–1982)

  • Salvador Dali was a Spanish surrealist artist who was famous for his technical expertise.
  • He began to move towards Surrealism in the latter part of the 1920s and joined the Surrealist group in 1929.
  • Dali was a resident of France through his time in France during the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939) before relocating to America in the United States in 1940, where Dali achieved commercial success.
  • In 1948, he returned to Spain 1948. He declared that he was returning to his Catholic faith and further developed the “nuclear mysticism” style.
  • His major themes include dreams, unconscious religion, sexuality and science, as well as his close personal relationships.


5. Hugo Ball

Dada artists

Born: 22 February 1886, Pirmasens, Germany

Died: 14 September 1927, Sant’Abbondio, Gambarogno, Switzerland

Spouse: Emmy Hennings (m. 1920–1927)

Movies: Filmstudie

Parents: Josephina Ball, Karl Ball

  • Hugo Ball was a German writer, poet and, in essence, the creator of the Dada movement in European art in Zurich in 1916.
  • He was an early pioneer in the field of the concept of sound poetry.
  • Hugo Ball was born in Pirmasens, Germany, and was raised in an upper-middle-class Catholic family.
  • The year 1910 was the time he emigrated to Berlin to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. He also collaborated in the same way as Max Reinhardt.
  • Although he was a fan of anarchist philosophy, he rejected it due to its radical aspects. He saw it as merely a way towards his own goals of socio-political enlightenment.


6. Man Ray

Dada artists

Born: 27 August 1890, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: 18 November 1976, Paris, France

Periods: Dada, Abstract art, Surrealism, Cubism, Modern art

Spouse: Juliet Man Ray (m. 1946–1976), Adon Lacroix (m. 1914–1937)

  • Man Ray was an American artist who lived the majority of his time in Paris.
  • He was a key influencer in both the Dada as well as the Surrealist movements, though his connections to both were not formal.
  • He created major works using various media, but he considered himself a painter most of all else.
  • He is most famous for his groundbreaking photography and was also a well-known photographer of fashion and portraits.
  • He is also renowned for his work on photograms, which he referred to as “rayographs” in reference to himself.


7. Max Ernst

Dada artists

Born: 2 April 1891, Brühl, Germany

Died: 1 April 1976, Paris, France

Spouse: Dorothea Tanning (m. 1946–1976), MORE

Periods: Surrealism, Dada, Modern art

Influenced by: Giorgio de Chirico, Max Stirner, Arnold Böcklin

Children: Jimmy Ernst

  • Max Ernst was a painter and sculptor. He also worked as a printmaker, poet and graphic artist.
  • An artist of great stature, Ernst was a primary leader in the Dada movement as well as Surrealism throughout Europe.
  • Ernst is renowned for his innovative drawing techniques and also for his creation of books and pamphlets by employing collages.
  • Max Ernst was born in Bruhl near Cologne, The third child in an upper-middle-class Catholic family.
  • He was the son of Philipp. Philipp had been a professor for deaf people and was an amateur painter. He was also a fervent Christian and an extremely strict disciplinarian.


8. Hannah Höch

Dada artists

Born: 1 November 1889, Gotha, Germany

Died: 31 May 1978, West Berlin

Periods: Modern art, Dada

Education: Myconiusschule (1896–1904), Unterrichtsanstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums Berlin

Spouse: Kurt Matthies (m. 1938–1944)

  • Hannah Hoch was a German Dada artist from Germany. Her most famous work is from her time in the Weimar period when she was among the first pioneers of photomontage.
  • She was intrigued by the subject in the way the dichotomy was constructed and how social roles are framed.
  • The other major themes of Hoch’s work were androgyny, politics, and the shifting of gender roles.
  • In 1914, shortly before the beginning of World War I, she was dismissed from school and returned home to Gotha to join the Red Cross.
  • In 1915 Hoch established a relationship of trust with Raoul Hausmann, a member of the Berlin Dada movement.


9. René Magritte

Dada artists

Born: 21 November 1898, Lessines, Belgium

Died: 15 August 1967, Schaerbeek, Schaerbeek, Belgium

Periods: Surrealism, Dada, Modern art

Influenced by: André Breton, Sigmund Freud, Jack Boynton

Spouse: Georgette Berger (m. 1922–1967)

  • Rene Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist who was well-known for creating many funny and thought-provoking photos.
  • His work has been influenced by the pop arts, minimalism, and conceptual art.
  • He started drawing lessons in the year 1910.
  • According to a legend 13-year-old, Magritte was in the room at the time her body was pulled from the water. However, recent studies have discredited this legend that may have started through the family nurse.
  • The first of Magritte’s paintings that date back to 1915 included Impressionistic and slick.


10. André Breton

Dada artists

Born: February 1896, Tinchebray, Tinchebray-Bocage, France

Died: 28 September 1966, Paris, France

Spouse: Elisa Breton (m. 1945–1966), Jacqueline Lamba (m. 1934–1943), Simone Collinet (m. 1921–1931)

Influenced by: Tristan Tzara, Sigmund Freud, MORE

Children: Aube Elléouët Breton

  • Andre Breton was a French poet and writer.
  • He is best known for his role as co-founder, leader and the principal surrealist theory-maker.
  • His father, Louis-Justin Breton, was a policeman and atheistic, and his mother, Marguerite-Marie-Eugenie Le Gougues, was a former seamstress.
  • Breton got married for the first time to his wife, Simone Kahn, on 15 September 1921.
  • He played a key in the formation 1924 of the Bureau of Surrealist Research.


11. Francis Picabia

Dada artists

Born: 22 January 1879, Paris, France

Died: 30 November 1953, Paris, France

Periods: Dada, Surrealism, Modern art, Cubism, Section d’Or

Influenced by: Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse

  • Francis Picabia was a French avant-garde poet, painter and typographist.
  • After playing around with Impressionism and Pointillism, Picabia became associated with Cubism.
  • His abstract, planar compositions were rich and vibrant in contrast.
  • He was among the early prominent leaders in Dada. Dada movements in America and France. The United States and France.
  • He was later briefly connected to Surrealism, but he would eventually quit his art community.


12. Kurt Schwitters

Dada artists

Born: 20 June 1887, Hanover, Germany

Died: 8 January 1948, Kendal, United Kingdom

Parents: Henriette Beckemeyer, Edward Schwitters

Spouse: Helma Fischer (m. 1915–1944)

Periods: Dada, Modern art, Surrealism, Merz (art style)

  • Kurt Schwitters was a German artist born in Hanover, Germany.
  • Most famous are his collages, dubbed Merz Pictures.
  • The father of his son was (co-)proprietor of a women’s clothing store.
  • In 1911, he was a participant in his first show in Hanover.
  • As the course of the First World War progressed, his work became darker and darker, gradually creating a distinct expressionist style.


13. Otto Dix

Dada artists

Born: 2 December 1891, Untermhaus

Died: 25 July 1969, Singen, Germany

Periods: Expressionism, Modern art, New Objectivity, Dada

Nationality: German

  • Otto Dix was a German artist and printmaker from Germany.
  • He is widely recognized as one of the leading art artists of his time. Neue Sachlichkeit.
  • Otto Dix was born in Untermhaus, Germany, now an integral area in Gera, Thuringia.
  • Between 1906 and 1910, he completed an apprenticeship under artist Carl Senff and began painting his first landscapes.
  • It was in 1910 when he enrolled in the Kunstgewerbeschule in Dresden, now known as the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, and Richard Guhr was among his instructors.


14. Raoul Hausmann

Dada artists

Born: 12 July 1886, Vienna, Austria

Died: 1 February 1971, Limoges, France

Artworks: L’Esprit de notre temps – Tête mécanique, Ohne Titel (Kirche), Ohne Titel (Selbstportrait)

Nationality: Austrian

Periods: Modern art, Dada

  • Raoul Hausmann was an Austrian writer and artist.
  • Raoul Hausmann was born in Vienna but emigrated to Berlin with his family when he was 14 in 1901.
  • The first formal art lessons he received were through his father, a professional artist, conservator and conservator.
  • He was introduced to Johannes Baader, an eccentric architect and a potential member of Dada, in 1905.
  • As with his Expressionist peers, he initially was a fan of war, believing it would be necessary to cleanse the calcified society.


15. Joan Miró

Dada artists

Born: 20 April 1893, Barcelona, Spain

Died: 25 December 1983, Palma, Spain

Periods: Surrealism, Modern art, Dada

Full name: Joan Miró i Ferrà

  • Joan Miro was a Spanish artist, sculptor, and ceramicist who was born in Barcelona.
  • He was famous for his fascination with the unconscious, or subconscious mind, which was reflected in his depiction in the form of a child.
  • Its work is seen as Surrealism but with a distinct style. Sometimes, it also goes towards Fauvism and Expressionism.
  • Born into a family that included two watchmakers and a goldsmith, Miro grew up in the Barri Gotic neighbourhood of Barcelona.
  • He was a student at the Cercle Artistic of Sant Lluc. He held his first solo exhibition in 1918 at Galeries Dalmau.


16. George Grosz

Dada artists

Born: 26 July 1893, Berlin, Germany

Died: 6 July 1959, West Berlin

Artworks: Eclipse of the Sun, Explosion, The Funeral, MORE

Place of burial: Friedhof Heerstraße, Berlin, Germany

Spouse: Eva Louise Peter (m. 1920–1959)

  • George Grosz was a German artist who was famous for his caricatural sketches and paintings depicting Berlin’s life during the 1920s.
  • A prominent participant in the Berlin Dada as well as the New Objectivity groups during the Weimar Republic.
  • He emigrated to the United States in 1933 and was a naturalized American in 1938.
  • In 1959, he returned to Berlin and died just a few days later.
  • Grosz was born Georg Ehrenfried Gross in Berlin, Germany, the third child of a pub owner.


17. Beatrice Wood

Dada artists

Born: 3 March 1893, San Francisco, California, United States

Died: 12 March 1998, Ojai, California, United States

Spouse: Steve Hoag (m. 1938–1960)

Movies: Beatrice Wood: Mama of Dada

Period: Dada

Education: Académie Julien, Paris, 1910; University of Southern California, 1938

  • Beatrice Wood was an American artist and studio pottery maker who took part in the Avant-Garde movement in the United States.
  • She studied theatre and art in Paris and currently lives as an actress in New York.
  • She then worked in pottery and sculpture. Wood was known in the media as being “Mama of Dada”.
  • Beatrice Wood was born in San Francisco, California.
  • She continued acting for a French Repertory Company in New York City, where she performed more than 60 roles over two years. She was employed for a few years as a stage actress.


18. Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Dada artists

Born: 12 July 1874, Świnoujście, Poland

Died: 14 December 1927, Paris, France

Spouse: Baron Leopold von Freytag-Loringhoven (m. 1913–1919), MORE

Place of burial: Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Period: Dada

  • Elsa Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven was born in Germany and was an avant-garde poet and artist.
  • She was regarded as one of the more controversial, radical female artists of the time.
  • Her provocative poems were published posthumously in the year 2011 with the publication Body Sweats.
  • She was trained and worked as a vaudeville actress and had many relationships with musicians throughout Berlin, Munich and Italy.
  • She was a student of art at Dachau, close to Munich.


19. Sophie Taeuber-Arp

Dada artists

Born: 19 January 1889, Davos, Switzerland

Died: 13 January 1943, Höngg, Zürich, Switzerland

Spouse: Hans Arp (m. 1922–1943)

Parents: Emil Taeuber, Sophie Taeuber-Krüsi

Nationality: French, Swiss

  • Sophie Taeuber-Arp is a Swiss artist from Switzerland.
  • Although she has been primarily overlooked after her death, her name is still regarded as one of the greatest artists of concrete and geometric abstraction in the 20th century.
  • Her parents owned pharmacies in Davos before her father died of tuberculosis at just two.
  • Sewing was taught to her by her mother.
  • She later moved to the workshop of Wilhelm von Debschitz at his school in Munich.


20. Marcel Janco

Dada artists

Born: 24 May 1895, Bucharest, Romania

Died: 21 April 1984, Ein Hod, Israel

Full name: Marcel Hermann Iancu

Education: ETH Zürich

Movies: Aliyah DaDa

  • Marcel Janco was a Romanian and Israeli visual artist
  • The co-inventor behind Dadaism was a prominent exponent of Constructivism in Eastern Europe.
  • In a reunion with Vinea, he created Contimporanul, the most influential tribune of the Romanian avant-garde. He argued for the fusion of Constructivism, Futurism and Cubism.
  • He was the architect behind many of the original landmarks in downtown Bucharest.
  • He was involved in various artistic styles, such as drawing, sculpture, and oil paintings.


21. Theo van Doesburg

Dada artists

Born: 30 August 1883, Utrecht, Netherlands

Died: 7 March 1931, Davos, Switzerland

Periods: De Stijl, Modern art, Dada

Spouse: Nelly van Doesburg (m. 1928–1931)

Parents: Henrietta Catherina Margadant, Wilhelm Küpper

  • Theo van Doesburg was a Dutch artist who practised poetry, writing, painting and architecture.
  • He is most well-known as the founder and the leader of De Stijl.
  • His wife was the artist, pianist, and choreographer Nelly van Doesburg.
  • After a brief time of acting training or singing, the man made the decision to be a storekeeper.
  • The first time he exhibited was in 1908. From 1912 the artist supported his work through writing for magazines.


22. Suzanne Duchamp

Dada artists

Born: 20 October 1889, Blainville-Crevon, France

Died: 11 September 1963, Paris, France

Spouse: Jean Crotti (m. 1919)

Siblings: Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Jacques Villon, Marcel Duchamp

Parents: Eugene Duchamp

Period: Dada

Education: National School of Fine Arts

  • Suzanne Duchamp was a French Dadaist painter, collagist artist, and draughtsman.
  • Her work contributed to the growth and growth of Paris Dada and modernism, and her collages and drawings reveal the fascinating gender-based dynamics.
  • She always lived with her famous brothers, who were all artists or were known by the title of “the wife of.”
  • Her painting work turned out to be incredibly influential in the world of Dada in Paris and the interests of women who participated in Dada.
  • She often weaves art collages and words in a variety of ways.


23. Jean Tinguely

Dada artists

Born: 22 May 1925, Fribourg, Switzerland

Died: 30 August 1991, Bern, Switzerland

Spouse: Niki de Saint Phalle (m. 1971–1991), Eva Aeppli (m. 1951–1960)

Children: Miriam Tinguely, Jean-Sébastien Tinguely

Parents: Charles Tinguely, Jeanne-Louise Ruffieux

  • Jean Tinguely was a Swiss artist best known as a kinetic artist of sculpture machines.
  • She was born at Fribourg. Tinguely lived in Basel from 1941 to 1945 and was a student at the Kunstgewerbeschule.
  • He was a part of the Parisian avant-garde of the late 20th century and was among the artists who signed the manifesto of the New Realist.
  • In 1971, he married another wife, Niki of Saint Phalle, with whom he worked on various artistic projects.
  • Tinguely died from heart failure in the year 1991, aged 66.


24. Christian Schad

Dada artists

Born: 21 August 1894, Miesbach, Germany

Died: 25 February 1982, Stuttgart, Germany

Nationality: German

Education: Akademie der Bildenden Künste München

  • Christian Schad was a German photographer and painter.
  • He was closely associated with his Dada along with his New Objectivity movements.
  • When viewed as a collection Schad’s portraits are an amazing document of the life within Vienna and Berlin during the period after World War I.
  • Schad was born in Miesbach, Upper Bavaria, to a successful lawyer who provided him with more than half of his life.
  • He attended an art school in Munich in 1913.


25. Benjamin Péret

Dada artists

Born: 21 August 1894, Miesbach, Germany

Died: 25 February 1982, Stuttgart, Germany

Nationality: German

Education: Akademie der Bildenden Künste München

  • Benjamin Peret was a French poet, Parisian Dadaist and a founding and a central figure in the French Surrealist movement.
  • Benjamin Peret was born in Reze, France, on 4 July 1899.
  • As a youngster, he was not educated because he was not a fan of schools; instead, he went to the Local Art School in 1912.
  • The year 1913 was the time he was forced to resign because of his inability to academic pursuits and the desire to leave.
  • After his return to France, He travelled to Spain during the onset of the Spanish Civil War and entered an Anarchist militia.

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