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Encyclopedia > Kurt Schwitters

Kurt Schwitters (June 20, 1887 - January 8, 1948) was a German painter who was born in Hannover, Germany. is the 171st day of the year (172nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1887 (MDCCCLXXXVII) is a common year starting on Saturday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. ... is the 8th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The following list is a partial list of painters. ... , Hanover(i) (German: , IPA: ), on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. ...

Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dadaism, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, collage, sculpture, graphic design, typography and what came to be known as installation art. Cover of the first edition of the publication, Dada. ... Tatlin Tower. ... Max Ernst. ... This article is about the art form. ... Sound is a disturbance of mechanical energy that propagates through matter as a wave. ... “Painter” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Collage (disambiguation). ... “Sculptor” redirects here. ... The story of graphic design spans the history of humankind from the caves of Lascaux to the dazzling neons of Ginza. ... A specimen of roman typefaces by William Caslon Typography is the art and techniques of type design, modifying type glyphs, and arranging type. ... Installation art uses sculptural materials and other media to modify the way we experience a particular space. ...


Biography and art

Though not a direct participant in Dada activities, he employed Dada ideas in his work, such as his Merz works — art pieces built up of found objects; some were very small, some took the form of large constructions, or what would later in the 20th century be called installations. The Sprengel Museum in Hanover has a reconstruction of the best known of these installations, called Merzbau, which was a redesign of at least four rooms in Schwitters's house in Hannover. (These were not in his apartment, but on the ground floor, in the attic and possibly in the basement.) The original Merzbau was destroyed in an air raid during World War II. According to Schwitters, merz is derived from the name of the Commerzbank; the word is also notably similar to the French word merde, which translated into English as "shit." Cover of the first edition of the publication, Dada. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... Installation art uses sculptural materials and other media to modify the way we experience a particular space. ... The Sprengel Museum in Hanover The Sprengel Museum in Hanover houses one of the most significant collections of modern art in Germany. ... , Hanover(i) (German: , IPA: ), on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Commerzbank AG (DAX: CBK) is the second-largest bank in Germany (after Deutsche Bank) and headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. ...

A story is told, but untrue, that he attempted to join the network of Dada artists, only to be rejected by the leader of the Berlin movement, Richard Huelsenbeck, on the premise that Schwitters was "too bourgeois" for Dada. A 2005 exposition on Dada at the Centre Georges Pompidou further acknowledged Schwitters as a member of the larger movement by devoting an entire section to the exhibition of some of his work (Ramade 2005). Richard Huelsenbeck (April 23, 1892 - April 30, 1974) was a poet, writer and drummer born in Frankenau, Germany. ... Bourgeois at the end of the thirteenth century. ... Centre Georges Poopy Doo Doo (constructed 1971–1977 and known as the Pompidou Centre in English) is a complex in the Beaubourg area of the IVe arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles and the Marais. ...

Thanks to Schwitters' lifelong patron and friend Katherine Dreier, his work was exhibited regularly in the USA from 1920 onwards. Schwitters published his own Merz magazine from 1923-32 and in the late 1920s became a well-known typographer; his best-known work was the catalogue for the Dammerstocksiedlung in Karlsruhe. From 1924 he ran an advertising agency called Merzwerbe, and in the late 1920s was the official typographer of Hannover town council. In a manner similar to the typographic experimentation by Herbert Bayer at the Bauhaus, Schwitters experimented with the creation of a new more phonetic alphabet in 1927. Some of his types were cast and used in his work. A digital revival of Schwitters' 1927 typeface called Architype Schwitters was released in 1997. In the late 1920s Schwitters joined the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation)s. Katherine Dreier. ... Karlsruhe (population 285,812 in 2006) is a city in the south west of Germany, in the Bundesland Baden-Württemberg, located near the French-German border. ... Herbert Bayers 1925 experimental universal typeface combined upper and lowercase characters into a single character set. ... For the British gothic rock band, see Bauhaus (band). ... Architype Schwitters is a geometric sans-serif typeface based upon a 1927 phonetic alphabet designed by Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948). ... The Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation) was a German association of architects, designers and industrialists, an important precursor to the Bauhaus. ...

In January 1937 Schwitters fled to Denmark, and in the same year, his Merz pictures were included in the Nazi exhibition titled "entartete Kunst" (degenerate art) in Munich. Schwitters started a second Merzbau while in exile in Lysaker nearby Oslo, Norway in 1937 but abandoned it in 1940 when the Nazis invaded; this Merzbau was subsequently destroyed in a fire in 1951. His hut on the Norwegian island of Hjertoya, near Molde, is also frequently regarded as a Merzbau. Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler and Adolf Ziegler visit the entartete Kunst exhibition. ... Kurt Schwitters (June 20, 1887 - January 8, 1948) was a German painter who was born in Hannover, Germany. ... Lysaker is a section of the Norwegian municipality of Bærum, just west of Oslo. ... This article is about the capital of Norway. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... County Møre og Romsdal District Romsdal Municipality NO-1502 Administrative centre Molde Mayor (2005) Jan Petter Hammerø (H) Official language form Neutral Area  - Total  - Land  - Percentage Ranked 254 363 km² 355 km² 0. ...

Schwitters fled to England, and was initially interned in Douglas Camp, Isle of Man. He spent time in London, then in 1945 moved to the Lake District, where, in 1947, he began work on the last Merzbau, which he called the Merzbarn. One wall of this last structure is now in the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle; the shell of the barn remains in Elterwater, near Ambleside. For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The panorama across Eskdale from Ill Crag. ... This article is about a city in the United Kingdom. ... The view over Windermere from Ambleside. ...

He composed and performed an early example of sound poetry, Ursonate (1922-32; a translation of the title is Original Sonata). Schwitters also authored the poem An Anna Blume. Sound poetry is a form of literary or musical composition in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded at the expense of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; verse without words. By definition, sound poetry is intended primarily for performance. ... Sonata (From Latin and Italian sonare, to sound), in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to cantata (Latin cantare, to sing), a piece sung. ... This article or section needs to be wikified. ...

Ursonate extract
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The sound recordings made by Schwitters in 1932 of both Ursonate and An Anna Blume can be heard on the audio CD Voices of Dada. Schwitters Ursonate. ... According to the International Electrotechnical Commission a kibibyte (a contraction of kilo binary byte) is a unit of information or computer storage. ...

Schwitters died in Kendal, England, and was buried in Ambleside. His grave was unmarked until 1966 when a stone was erected with the inscription Kurt Schwitters – Creator of Merz. The stone remains as a memorial even though his body was later disinterred and reburied in Hannover, Germany, the grave being marked with a marble copy of his 1929 sculpture Die Herbstzeitlose. For the 1832-1918 Parliamentary constituency, see Kendal (UK Parliament constituency). ... The view over Windermere from Ambleside. ... Map of Germany showing Hanover Hanover (in German: Hannover [haˈnoːfɐ]), on the river Leine, is the capital of the state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. ...

Marlborough Gallery Controversy

Schwitters' son, Ernst, largely entrusted the artistic estate of his father to Gilbert Lloyd, director of the Marlborough Gallery in Oslo, Norway. However, Ernst fell victim to a crippling stroke in 1995, moving control of the estate as a whole to Kurt's grandson, Bengt Schwitters. Controversy erupted when Bengt, who has said he has "no interest in art and his grandfather's works," terminated the standing agreement between the family and the Marlborough Gallery. The Marlborough Gallery filed suit against the Schwitters estate in 1996, after confirming Ernst Schwitters' desire to have Mr. Lloyd continue to administer the estate in his will. This article is about the capital of Norway. ...

Professor Henrick Hanstein, an auctioneer and art expert, provided key testimony in the case, stating that Schwitters was virtually forgotten after his death in exile in England in 1948, and that the Marlborough Gallery had been vital in ensuring the artist's place in art history. The verdict, which was eventually upheld by Norway's highest court, awarded the gallery USD 2.6 million in damages. [1]

Archival and Forgeries

Schwitters' visual work has now been completely catalogued in the Catalogue Raisonne. Forgeries of collages by Schwitters turn up almost weekly on eBay. Before purchasing any work supposedly by Schwitters, it is best to consult the Kurt Schwitters Archive at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany.


  • Brian Eno sampled Schwitters recording of Ursonate for the "Kurt's Rejoinder" track on his 1977 album, Before and after Science.
  • Japanese musician Merzbow took his name from Schwitters.
  • Canadian poet Colin Morton wrote a book of poetry inspired by Schwitters and a play based on it.
  • A fictionalised account of Schwitters's time in London is the subject of an opera by Michael Nyman, Man and Boy: Dada.
  • Big City Orchestra has performed several of Schwitters plays including "Dramatic Scene" and "Pastoral Play"
  • Canadian composer Christopher Butterfield has performed Ursonate multiple times. He recorded the work at the National Research Council of Canada in 1979.
  • The German hip-hop band Freundeskreis quoted from his poem "An Anna Blume" in their hit single "ANNA".
  • The British indie rock band British Sea Power play parts of Ursonate between songs while playing live.
  • The krautrock band Faust have a song entitled "Dr. Schwitters snippet".
  • Tonio K's second album "Amerika" ends with the "Merzsuite" which includes the lines "This one is for Mr. Schwitters / This one is for Kurt".

Brian Eno (pronounced ) (born Brian Peter George St. ... This article is about reusing existing sound recordings in creating new works. ... The Other House by Peter Schmidt Before and after Science is a 1977 album by Brian Eno. ... // Merzbow (Japanese; メルツバウ) is the name used by Japanese musician Masami Akita (秋田昌美 Akita Masami) for most of his experimental noise records, and is considered by many to be the earliest project among others in what has become known as the Japanese noise scene. He has released many CDs, LPs and cassettes... Colin Morton (born 1948) is a Canadian poet who lives in Ottawa, Ontario. ... This article is about Opera, the art form. ... Michael Nyman (born March 23, 1944) is a British minimalist composer, pianist, librettist and musicologist, perhaps best known for the many scores he wrote during his lengthy collaboration with the British filmmaker Peter Greenaway. ... Big City Orchestra Long running art/anti-art group based generally in California. ... The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is Canadas leading organization for scientific research and development. ... Freundeskreis also known as FK is a German hip hop group from Stuttgart, whose songs are in German and Esperanto but also in English. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Krautrock is a generic name for the experimental music that appeared in Germany in the late 1960s and gained popularity throughout the 1970s. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Steve Krikorian (April 15, 1949 - ) aka Tonio K was born in Palm Desert, California. ...

External links

Sound art

Further reading

  • Fred Uhlman: The Making of an Englishman, Gollancz (1960), has some interesting biographical and anecdotal details about Schwitters during his internment at Douglas, Isle of Man. Uhlman was a co-internee.
  • Ramade, Bénédicte. (2005) Dada: L'exposition/The Exhibition, Union-Distribution. ISBN 2844262783
  • Webster, Gwendolen, Kurt Merz Schwitters, a Biographical Study, University of Wales Press 1997, ISBN 0-7083-1438-4
  • Burns Gamard, Elizabeth, Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau: The Cathedral of Erotic Misery, Princeton Architectural Press 2000, ISBN 1-5689-8136-8

Location within the British Isles Douglas (Doolish in Manx) is the capital of the Isle of Man (Ellan Vannin) and its largest town. ...


  1. ^ Alexander, Leslie. "Marlborough Vindicated". Art & Antiques April 2001: 38.

  Results from FactBites:
The Merzbau was destroyed during an allied bombing raid in 1943, and Schwitters died in poverty and obscurity in England in 1948.
Schwitters pursuit of eclecticism, incorporating other artists' styles, is in the spirit of postmodern pastiche, while his use of found objects and ready-mades (à la Duchamp) - which he regarded as artistic shortcuts (pg 117) - further subvert artistic authority and originality.
Kurt Schwitters at AllExperts (1050 words)
Schwitters published his own Merz magazine from 1923-32 and in the late 1920s became a well-known typographer; his best-known work was the catalogue for the Dammerstocksiedlung in Karlsruhe.
Schwitters started a second Merzbau while in exile in Oslo, Norway in 1937 but abandoned it in 1940 when the Nazis invaded; this Merzbau was subsequently destroyed in a fire in 1951.
Schwitters died in Kendal, England, and was buried in Ambleside.
  More results at FactBites »



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