Kurt Schwitters


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Kurt Schwitters (Hannover, 1887 – Kendal, 1948) initially immersed himself in expressionism before encountering Dada in 1918. He began incorporating everyday objects such as bus tickets and scraps of paper into his work and coined the term “Merz” for this new artistic approach. This represented a break with traditional art materials and a rejection of artistic boundaries.

During the period between 1924 and 1926, Schwitters refined his unique collage style. He continued to use found objects, such as streetcar tickets, train schedules and newspaper clippings, but also incorporated elements such as string, wire and fabric. These collages often showed a strong sense of rhythm and geometric patterns, reflecting the influence of Constructivism.

Schwitters’ early collages were decidedly influenced by the anti-establishment spirit of Dada. He actively participated in Dada exhibitions and collaborated with artists such as Raoul Hausmann and Hannah Höch. However, he distanced himself from the purely destructive aspects of Dada and emphasized the creative potential of “Merz.”

Schwitters became close friends with Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg, a co-founder of De Stijl, an art movement that emphasized geometric abstraction. This connection likely influenced Schwitters’ use of geometric shapes and patterns in his collages during this period.

He developed a strong connection with the Netherlands, exhibiting his work in Amsterdam and establishing ties with Dutch artists such as Piet Mondrian and Vilmos Huszar. He even published his famous magazine “Merz” in Dutch from 1923 to 1936, further cementing his ties to the Dutch art scene.

Schwitters’ early collages (1924-1926) represent a crucial period in his artistic development. By incorporating everyday objects and combining elements from different art movements, he established a distinct and influential artistic voice that transcended traditional boundaries. His connections with other artists, especially those in the Netherlands, played an important role in shaping his artistic vision and promoting his work internationally.