Kurt Schwitters

(Hannover 1887 - 1948 Kendal/England)

Schwitters studies at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts from 1909 until 1914, producing naturalistic and Impressionist paintings. In 1918, he comes into contact with the circle of Expressionist artists around the gallery “Der Sturm” in Berlin. He meets Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, and Richard Huelsenbeck and joins the Dada movement. He starts making collages out of the detritus of civilization that he calls “Merz pictures,” a play on the name “Commerzbank.” From 1922 until 1930, his art evolves in close contact with the Constructivists and the De Stijl movement. His most unconventional creation, the so-called Merzbau (Merz Building), a sprawling construction that takes up two floors of his home and studio building in Hanover, occupies him from 1923 until 1936; it is destroyed in an air raid in 1943. In 1937, Schwitters emigrates to Norway, where he has been spending more and more time since 1929. In 1940, he escapes the German invasion for England.