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Kurt Schwitters

Painter, Graphic designer, Modeller (male), Sculptor (male), Commercial artist (male), Collage artist (male), Draughtsman, Writer (male) and Poet (male)

1887 in Hannover
1948 in Ambleside


Kurt Schwitters was born in Hanover in 1887. He studied at Dresden’s academy, the Akademie der Künste, from 1909 to 1915. Then in 1917 he turned to abstract painting and began to write. He was represented in an exhibition at Berlin’s Der Sturm gallery in 1918, and met the artists Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann and Hannah Höch, who became good friends. From 1918 to 1919 Schwitters developed the concept Merz – a fragment drawn from Commerzbank – that characterised his entire artistic career. He began making his first collages and assemblages, his so-called Merz Pictures, out of objects not normally associated with art. In 1920 he participated for the first time in the Société Anonyme’s exhibition in New York, in which Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray were also represented. Schwitters attended the Dada fair of the Berlin Dadaists, and in 1922 took part in the Dada congress in Weimar. In addition, the artist maintained contacts with the Bauhaus and De Stijl. In 1933 he was proscribed by the National Socialists, and some of his works were exhibited in the 1937 Degenerate Art show. Schwitters emigrated to Norway, and then fled to England in 1940, where he died in Kendal in 1948.

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