Kurt Schwitters (Hannover20 June 1887 - Kendal (United Kingdom), 8 January 1948) was a German paintertypographerpoetand publicist , who became famous with his sound poems are collages, and as creator of Merz.

[1] Wahnsinn ist es auch..., hat es doch method ...

— Börsenkurier, 1924.



[hide]*1 early life

Life Course[Edit]Edit

He was a son of Edward Schwitters and Henriette Beckemeyer, which until 1898 possessed a women's clothing case to the Theaterplatz in Hannover and then lived on income from real estate. In the I Realgymnasium in Hannover. From 1901 he had suffered from epileptic seizures. [1After having left the gymnasium he studied at the Art Academy in Dresden. From 1907 he was active as a painter and then made Impressionist paintings. Around 1917 he joined the Expressionists. In 1918 he sought affiliation with ' Club Dada ', a Berlin Dadaists group consisting of Johannes BaaderRaoul Hausmann and Richard Huelsenbeck, but is referred to by the last denied. [2]he contacts to Be buttoned with Raoul Hausmann, with whom he developed a kind of ' bird language ', which he sat in a tree in his front yard in Hannover to visitors as an argument. [3he also searched Georg Grosz on by simply ring the Bell with him. Hans Richter signed in 1964 the conversation, that would have taken place between them, put himself on. Schwitters for by saying, "good morning, Herr Grosz, Schwitters", on which my name is Grosz answered him: "I'm not Grosz" and slammed the door shut.Schwitters still rang a second time and answered him: "I am also not Schwitters". [4]

' Niece Dada, sondern Merz '[Edit]Edit

[3][4]Cover of Merz, number 8/9 (april-July 1924), designed by El Lissitzky.[5][6]We w88888888 the wall poem in Lead[7][8]Ad for the Big Dada Evening in Leiden

In 1919 he made a notable collage, he to a fragment of a processed in this ad from the KOMMERZ UND PRIVATBANK, on which only read the letters were still Merzbild , MERZ called it. [1in addition to newspaper clippings he used materials such as paper, cardboard, chicken wire and barbed wire, that he simply found on the streets. In Hannover was for that reason soon a local celebrity, so wrote a certain Friedhelm laugh: ' Man empfahl ihm Irrenarzt, entweder den aufzusuchen, oder man sah Aussenseiter hinweg lächelnd über den, der-man stelle sich das vor! -mit seinem Papierfetzen und Fahrrad durch Straszen und Korken fuhr, that Hannover's Holzstücken sammelte '. [5]

In 1919, the first exhibition of its Merzbilder place in galerie Der Sturm by Herwarth Walden and in 1920, his work was exhibited at the Société Anonyme in New York. [1]

In 1921 he met the Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg. He learned the cobbler through Van Doesburg Thijs Rinsema -artist and his brother Evert common. He sought them regularly on Nominationsin their hometown, where he worked on various collages with Thijs and cases and boxes, made up of all kinds of small pieces of wood they found on the street or on the market. [5]

In the fall of 1921, Schwitters including Raoul Hausmann a dada-tour to Prague. During this tour he became acquainted with Hausmanns ' sound poem ' fmsbwtcu ' and was here so excited about that he afterwards as ' portrait of raoul hausmann ' still often would execute. Also it served as an example for his ' Ursonate ', where he worked until 1932.

On 23 september 1922 traveled Schwitters to Weimar. [6on september 24, he visited the Walter Dexel 's Städtische Kunstverein in Jena. On 25, 27 and 29 september 1922 took part in a small, Schwitters Theo van Doesburg organized, German Dada-tour, which successively the cities WeimarJena and visited Hanover. [7]

' Holland ist d[Edit]Edit

Because of the great success of this mini tour, Van Doesburg invited him to participate in a slightly larger stuffed Dutch Dada-tour, where Van Doesburg's girlfriend Nelly van Moorsel and the style-artist Vilmos Huszár part in names. The first performance was for 31 december 1922 planned, but due to problems with his passport came Schwitters only on 5 January in Netherlands to. He lived there with his wife some time at Van Doesburg's second wife, Lena Milius, in the Hague. Because the Dutch public understood little or no German, was a large part of Schwitters ' sound-nominated work, letter and number poems. In addition to these performances, he also gave solo performances, such as about 27 January Bestends interest in Tilburgin cinema[8and on april 13, in the upper room of ' The Phoenix ' in Drachten. Arrived at the tram station in Drachten brought Schwitters his luggage itself with a wheelbarrow to the Taha brothers and Evert RinsemaHans Richter signed in 1964 that Schwitters always fourth class traveled and two heavy bags were meezeulde, which is full with material for making his collages, which he sold everywhere for 20 Mark each. On the occasion of Schwitters ' two ' modernist ' evening Thijs Rinsema designed panels, which were drawn up on either side of the stage. [9the night itself was in the Delgado star Courant announced with Schwitters ' poem ' w88888888 ' we (see Poems) and was visited by approximately 40 people. Prior was the brochure What is Dada?available. Nelly van Doesburg managed to remember in 1971, that "during the evening referred to by Kurt Schwitters ' Anna Blume ' [sic] and the ' Ursonate ' [are] nominee, while he also read out excerpts from Goethe during a performance of a Chopin Sonata by me". In addition Schwitters ' Das Verwesungswesen ', ' Achtung bitte Ausschlachtung Sie Nennen es! ', ' Privatherrschaften ' and ' Hannover ' (see Poems), plus the poem ' if ' Und sie in that a report that in Tüte sah, the Delgado star Gazette of 17 april thus in the Frieze was translated:

And as hja yn the PAL seach, Than algae d'r reade kjessen yn, Than tame hja the PAL dddddddddddd, Then whose the PAL dddddddddddd.

[9][10]First issue of the magazine "Merz", January 1923

Schwitters found this apparently so nice, that he later processed in the poem ' Who Zute Tute ' (see Poems). Furthermore, he carried the story ' that weisslackierte schwarze Tüte ' (see Articles) before and he read aphorisms from the booklet for Rinsema Collected sentences of Evert. Other than the Dada-tour, which he with Van Doesburg, Van Moorsel and Huszár organized, so tumultuous that the police went there sometimes had to come to pass, expired the Dada-evening in Drachten neat and even the local press was cautiously positive. In his report of 17 april the Dragt star Courtant stood further: "(...) How idiot also, in everything characterized the seasoned cabaret-artist [Schwitters], that the innocent fun know to do so, that the forty attendees, who are presumably in advance all imagined, if sober self-command to toonen peasants more than the average-urbanite, is crooked have laughed! " The evening would go down in history as the last d-manifestation in Europe. Were his performances until then mainly provocative, later he would maintain his audience, on a much smaller scale, with stories and lectures on modern art. [10following the Dutch Dada-tour he gave in January 1923 the first issue of his magazine MERZ out. [11The first issue covered the Dadaism in Netherlands. The Hague author Til Brugman provided the Dutch subscriptions.

In the spring of 1923 also found Emil Richter Art salon in Merztentoonstellingen place in Dresden, Gallery Sonnenbloem in the Hague and the ' building for fine arts ' (Arti et Amicitiae?) in Amsterdam. Exhibit work in Gallery also regularly Schwitters Der Sturm in Berlin. [12]

During the Dutch Dada-tour he met Van Doesburg's best friend, the Singer Antony Kok, for whom he had much sympathy immediately. Cook described as someone who at the same time Schwitters comedian if Sage was carried to him and his poem "Vlahaïsvatka, poème d on. He invited him in april from a few days to stay with him in Tilburg. Cook suggested him to there are residing in Zwolle sister, Marie, who bought two collages ( Einbild; seeBadeleben and Collages), which Schwitters on Cooks mantelpiece and wing had displayed. Schwitters would Cook in turn invite in Hannover, where he rondleidde him in his ' Merzbau ', one from all kinds of street waste accumulated construction in his home. Cook had to sit in a kind of cave of wood and plaster, while Schwitters read him a story from another cave. [8In 1925 wore Schwitters in cooperation with Theo van Doesburg and his neighbor, Käte Steinitz, Who made children's book Scheuche. Märchen (the scarecrow. Fairy Tales) to cook on.[13]

[11][12]Grave of Kurt Schwitters in Hannover with a replica of his sculpture That Herbstzeitlose(see Sculpture).

Despite Schwitters ' hurry manic productivity, he garnered little success as Merzkünstler . "It is very difficult in Germany, a lot of work and little cents. (...) I t also reklame advertentien for the newspapers now, and write articles. And I also have a portrait painted, "he wrote on March 19, 1926 to Thijs Radiance. [14]


In 1937 he fled to Norwayfor the Nazism . After the outbreak of the Second World War he fled from there to England. Here he began translating much of his work in English and he soon began to write directly in English. From 1944 to his death he is friends with the Polish futurist Stefan Themerson, who had fled to England, and end 1942 itself there at a member of the Polish Army, which about Schwitters ' international orientation wrote: "You can perhaps be an Italian futurist, or a Russian futurist; a French cubist, or a Belgian Congo cubist; a German expressionist, or a Japanese expressionist; but you cannot possibly be an Italian, or French, or German dadaist.You are either a dadaist or a German, etc. etc. You cannot be both ". [15Schwitters died in Kendal , England and was reburied in Hanover.



Books and poetry[Edit]Edit

  • Anna Blume. Dichtungen [first edition]. Paul Steegemann, Hannover: 1919.
  • Anna Blume. Dichtungen [Second Edition]. Paul Steegemann, Hannover: 1919.
  • Kurt Merz Schwitters. Elementar. That Blume Anna. Die neue Blume Anna. Berlin: Der Sturm, 1922.
  • Kurt Schwitters (Merz). Memoiren Anna Offer in Bleie. Eine leichtfaßliche zur Erlernung des Wahnsinns Method für Jedermann. Freiburg i/B: w. Heinrich, 1922.
  • That Scheuche X. Märchen [in collaboration with Käte Steinitz and Theo van Doesburg Trautman]. Hannover: Apossverlag, [1925].
  • Kurt Schwitters. Das literarische Work [part 2, Prosa 1918-1930]. Köln, 1974.


  • An Anna Blume, 1919.
  • Nennen Sie es Ausschlachtung, circa 1919.
  • Hannover, 1920.
  • Ursonate, 1922-1932.
  • To Anna flowers [ Theo van Doesburgtranslation], published in Merz, number 1 (January 1923): p. 12.
  • We w88888888, published in Delgado star Gazette.
  • That Zute Tute, april 1923.
  • ' Unsittliches i-Poem ', Merz, number 2 (april 1923): p. 19.
  • ' An ' ArpMerz, number 4 (July 1923): p. 33.


  • ' Es gibt genug Zeitschriften (...) ', Merz, nr. 1 (January 1923): p. 1.
  • "Que fait Dada? (...) ', Merz, nr. 1 (January 1923): p. 2.
  • Dadaismus in Holland ', ' Merz, nr. 1 (January 1923): p. 3-11.
  • Weisslackierte schwarze Tüte ', ' That Merz, nr. 1 (January 1923): p. 14-15.
  • ' The self ' victory of Dada, Haagsche Post (20 January 1923).
  • ' I ', Merz, number 2 (april 1923): p. 17-21.
  • ' Krieg ', Merz, number 2 (april 1923): p. 22.
  • Kurt Schwitters, Theo van Doesburg, ' Das Schiffchen: Dada Nachrichten ', Merz, nr. 2 (april 1923): p. 27-28.


  • Birch in Burgwedel. 9 May 1907. Watercolour on paper. 21 × 26.8 cm. Hannover, Sprengel Museum.


  • Without title. 1911. oil on canvas. 59 × 79.8 cm. Hannover, Sprengel Museum.
  • Missis [old Harlequin title]. 1912. oil on canvas on cardboard. Hannover, Sprengel Museum.
  • Farm in Sundern. 1912-1913. oil on canvas. 53.2 × 70.3 cm. Hannover, Sprengel Museum.
  • Still life with jug, lemons and flowers. 1916. oil on cardboard. 50.5 × 50.7 cm. Hannover, Sprengel Museum.
  • Abstraction No. II. 1917. oil on cardboard. 69.8 × 49.5 cm. Hannover, Sprengel Museum.


  • Merzbild [gone]. 1919. material and dimensions unknown.
  • Das Kreisen. 1919. wood, metal, rope, wire, cardboard, wool, leather and oil on canvas. 122.7 × 88.7 cm. New York, Museum of Modern Art.


  • Drawing A 2: Hansi. 1918. colored and printed paper on paper. 36.8 × 29.5 cm. New York, Museum of Modern Art.
  • Painting with light middle. 1919. colored and printed paper, watercolour, oil and pencil on board. 84.5 × 65.7 cm. New York, Museum of Modern Art.
  • Einbild. 1921. Collage 45 × 35.5 cm. Haarlem, private collection.
  • Mz 460 Two Underpants. 1921. colored and printed paper and dust on cardboard. 20.3 × 17.1 cm. New York, Museum of Modern Art.
  • Merzzeichnung 21. January 1923. Collage. Dimensions and whereabouts are unknown. Depicted in Merz, nr. 1 (January 1923): p. 1.
  • Badeleben [lost during a restoration in the 1980s].
  • Without title. 1947.


  • Those Holy Bekümmernis [lost]. Circa 1919.
  • That Kultpumpe. Circa 1919. Material, size and whereabouts are unknown.
  • That Herbstzeitlose. 1926-1929 [reconstructed 1956]. Plaster. 80.5 × 29.7 × 35.5 cm. Hannover, Sprengel Museum.