Kurt Schwitters
German, 1887-1948
High auction record
£14m, Christie's, 2014
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture,
Vancouver Art Gallery
Theo van Doesburg: A New Expression of Life, Art and Technology,
Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR)
Modern Masters: Degenerate Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Bern,
Kunstmuseum Bern

Associated with the Dada movement, painter, poet, and mixed-media artist Kurt Schwitters is best known for his collage and assemblage works in which he transformed appropriated imagery and text from print media into dynamic and layered compositions. Schwitters studied at the Dresden Academy of Art with Otto Dix and George Grosz, and after showing in Berlin in 1918 was introduced to Dadaists Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch, and Jean Arp. It was at this time he began making assemblages from materials found discarded on the streets of his home city, Hannover, intending to reflect the ruined state of German culture; he called the works Merzbilder after the German word “Kommerz,” as in Merzbild 1A. The mental doctor (1919). Unlike the Berlin Dadaists, however, Schwitters’ main concern was art-making, not political activism, and he is remembered best for his innovative use of mixed-media and …

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