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Kurt Schwitters Biography

1887 - 1948

German artist Kurt Schwitters was born in Hanover in 1887. He studied art at the Dresden Academy, alongside fellow students George Grosz and Otto Dix. In 1909, Schwitter returned to his hometown of Hanover to begin his art career as a post-impressionist. His first exhibition took place in 1911 in Hanover. Schwitters experimented in a wide variety of media and disciplines throughout his career, including constructivism, surrealism, dadaism, typography, painting, sound, poetry and sculpture. His most famous artworks were his series of collages, called the Merz Pictures, created from rubbish he had found on the streets and printed media, creating harmonious and sentimental arrangements.

Schwitters collaborated with other artists to create his merzbau creations, which began with one object. Other artists then added further objects, creating a constantly changing work of art. Schwitters kept comprehensive records of all of his work in folders at his family home in Hanover, but tragically, a World War II bombing destroyed everything. He died aged 60 in Kendal in 1948. Many post modern artists now cite Schwitters as an inspiration to their work; including Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg and Arman. An entire wall of the Merzbarn can now be found in the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, England.

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