Thomas Theodor Heine


Illustration, exlibris, textiles, bookjackets, caricatures. Jewish. Born Thomas David Heine 28 February 1867 in Leipzig, partly Jewish; his mother English, from Manchester. 1883-?: student at Dusseldorf Academy; later attended the Munich Academy. 1893-4: illustrated for the Fliegend Blätter. 1895-6: contributor of cartoons and decorative material to the new art and literary journal Pan. 1896-1933: leading caricaturist and designer for the satirical journal Simplicissimus, of which he was a co-founder (and editor, 1909-25); his work appeared weekly for over 35 years. Studied painting in Düsseldorf and Munich. His early style a simplified Beardsley. Worked for Insel, Cassirer, S. Fischer and other major publishers. 1933: dismissed from Simplicissimus when Nazis attempted to censor the journal; fled from Munich, with the help of Eberhard Hölscher, to Prague. Expelled from the Prussian Academy of Art.

‘From the start of my collaboration with Albert Langen, publisher of the Simplcissimus, in 1896, I had been producing a drawing for the magazine every week. It was only during the strange Spring of 1933 that this came to an end – inevitably, because I would not let myself be forced into line. It never was my ambition to become a useful member of a society under military command, and I preferred exile to the residence in a concentration camp that was so kindly offered to me. I arrived in Czechoslovakia and felt at home in this country of tradition and culture.’ (Th. Th. Heine, in Soukupová, 1962, p. 605; tr. SM)

‘“On the run from world history” – this is how he described his enforced travels as an emigrant – he travelled first to Berlin, where friends procured for him the documents of a Dr Müller, a professor of medicine who had died shortly before. With these papers he was able to cross the border into the Czechoslovakian Republic on 2 May 1933.’ (Soukupová, 1962, p. 605; tr. SM)

1934: exhibited with John Heartfield in an anti-fascist art exhibition. During his years in Prague he produced over 300 drawings for journals, particularly for the Prager Tagblatt. October 1938: fled to Oslo, Norway, with the help of Olaf Gulbransson’s wife’s uncle. June 1940: studio raided by Gestapo; Heine was arrested and interrogated. Dec. 1942: fled finally to Stockholm, Sweden; in the following years he drew caricatures for various Swedish newspapers. 1947: Swedish citizenship. He died 26 January 1948 in Stockholm.

Writings by

  • Seltsames geschieht, Braunschweig: Klemm, 1946
  • Kleine Bilder aus grosser Zeit, Munich: Simplicissimus, 1917
  • Die Märchen, Amsterdam: Querido, 1935
  • ‘Randbemerkungen zu meinen Leben’ (date?), reproduced in Ulrich-Museum 1949 exh. cat., see below
  • Ich warte auf Wunder, Stockholm: Neuer Verlag, 1945 (Munich: Rütten & Loening, 1961)
  • ‘Randbemerkungen eines Karikaturisten’ (date?), reproduced in Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Aug. 1967, pp. 61-2.

Writings about

  • F.H. Ehmcke, ‘Wahrzeichen – Warenzeichen’ (trademarks), Das Plakat, Feb. 1921, pp. 69-100
  • Peter Alton, ‘Dreissig Jahre “Simplicissimus”’, Die Reklame, May 1925, pp. 470-72 (photo of Heine, p. 471)
  • W. Lotz, ‘Die deutsche Presse und die neue Gestalung’ (‘Pressa exh.), Die Form, 1928, v. 5, pp. 129-39, esp. p. 136
  • ‘Die rote Bulldogge’, in Erich Knauf, Empörung und Gestaltung. Künstlerprofile von Daumier bis Kollwitz, Berlin: Büchergilde Gutenberg, 1928, esp. pp. 165-73, 221
  • E. Hölscher, ‘Der Schutzumschlag’, Klimschs Jahrbuch, 1934, pp. 44-60
  • Th. Th. Heine, Die Märchen, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag N.V., 1935
  • 1936-59: Lars Leon Urwitz, Thomas Theodor Heine 80 år. Jubileumsutställning (exh. cat.), Stockholm, 1947
  • Eberhard Hölscher, ‘Thomas Theodor Heine. Zum Gedächtnis’, Das Buchgewerbe, April 1948, pp. 85-7
  • Ernst Penzoldt, ‘Thomas Theodor Heine’ (obituary and appreciation), Graphis 22, 1948, pp. 172-5, 195, 196
  • Gedächtnisausstellung/Thomas Theodor Heine (exh. cat.), Braunschweig: Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, 1949 (includes biography)
  • Vollmer, 1955
  • Paul Burck, ‘3 mal Simplicissimus’, Bildende Kunst, 1955, 3, pp. 230-31 Karl H. Salzmann, ‘Thomas Theodor Heine, der Simplicissimus-Karikaturist, Buchkünstler und Schriftsteller’, Aus dem Antiquariat, 1956, 3
  • Werner Klemke, ‘“Die Inkunabeln sind immer die Besten”’, Bildende Kunst, 1957, pp. 335-8, 351-2 (about poster exh. in Museum für Deutsche Geschichte, Berlin)
  • 1960-present: Véra Soukupová and Dagmar Stará, ‘Thomas Theodor Heine als Emigrant in der Tschechoslowakei’, Bildende Kunst, 1962, 11, pp. 605-10 (includes numerous Prague references)
  • Hellmut Rademacher, Das deutsche Plakat. Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, Dresden: VEB Verlag der Kunst, 1965., 1965, pp. 80-86, 89
  • E. Hölscher, ‘Thomas Theodor Heine und das Buch’, Imprimatur, 1967, pp. 56-63 (includes biography)
  • Curt Tillmann, ‘Broschur- und Schutzumschlagentwürfe von Th. Th. Heine’, Imprimatur, 1967, pp. 64-6, includes bibliography plus 4-page inset of covers
  • Dagny Gulbransson-Björnson, Olaf Gulbransson. Sein Leben, Neske, 1967
  • Erhard Frommhold, Kunst im Widerstand, Dresden: VEB Verlag der Kunst, 1968
  • Lothar Lang, Thomas Theodor Heine (Klassiker der Karikatur 1), Berlin, 1968
  • L. Lang, Thomas Theodor Heine, Munich: Rogner & Bernhard, 1970 (includes biography)
  • Elisabeth Stüwe, Der ‘Simpicissimus’-Karikaturist Thomas Theodor Heine als Maler, Frankfurt a.M./Bern/Las Vegas: Lang, 1978
  • Die Insel und die moderne deutsche Buchkunst (auction cat. 257), Hamburg: Hauswedell & Nolte, 21/22 May 1985
  • Pfäfflin, 1986
  • Helga Gutbrod (and others), 100 Jahre Simplicissimus (exh. cat.), Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen and Olaf Gulbransson Museum, 1996 (Heine: pp. 82-7
  • includes history and biblio. on Simplicissimus)
  • Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie, Munich, London, New Providence: K.G. Saur 1995- (from 1997: Munich only)., 1996
  • Helmut Friedel (ed.), Thomas Theodor Heine, Munich/Leipzig: Lenbachhaus, 2000 (2 vols.)
  • remarks on H. Friedel’s Thomas Theodor Heine, TTH’s work and 2000 exh., Graphische Kunst, 2000, 55, p. 72
  • Imprimatur, 2001, p. 76 (Simplicissimus cover, 1899).
  • Georg Biermann, ‘Neue deutsche Buchkunst’, Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., April 1911, pp. 104-12
  • 1901-35: ‘Thomas Theodor Heine’, in Otto Grauoff, Die Entwicklung der modernen Buchkunst in Deutschland, Leipzig: Seeman, 1901, pp. 45-58
  • Oscar Bie, ‘Th. Th. Heine als Illustrator’, Wieland, Aug. 1917, pp. 9-10
  • Wieland, Aug. 1917 (cover and book covers)
  • J. Popp, ‘Thomas Theodor Heine’, Das Plakat, 1917, pp. 265-72 (lists posters 1896-1915)
  • Emil Preetorius, ‘Thomas Theodor Heine’ (written 1927, reproduced in Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Aug. 1967, p. 61)
  • Eberhard Hölscher, ‘Thomas Theodor Heine’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., v. 3, 1928, pp. 2-17
  • International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-45, Munich, New York, London, Paris: K.G. Saur, 1983., 1983
  • Michael Fehr and Gerhard Storck, Deutsches Museum für Kunst in Handel und Gewerbe 1909-1919 (exh. cat.), Kaiser Wilhelm Museum Krefeld and Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum der Stadt Hagen, publisher: Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon, Ghent, 1997., 1997 (see ‘Buchgewerbe’ index)


  • Kunsthaus Brakl, Munich, 1909
  • Munich, 1927
  • Hugo Feigl Gallery, Prague, 1933
  • Brno, 1934
  • National Museum of Stockholm, 1947
  • Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig, 1949
  • Museum für Deutsche Geschichte, Berlin, 1957 (group)
  • Wilhelm Busch Museum, Hannover, 1960
  • Wilhelm Busch Museum, Hannover, 1964 (group)
  • Städt. Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich, 2000, and Bröhan Museum, Berlin, 2000/2001.