Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Birthday Kurt Schwitters

June 20, 1887. Kurt Hermann Eduard Karl Julius Schwitters was a German painter who was born in Hanover, Germany. Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography and what came to be known as installation art. He is most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures. In this image: Das Undbild, 1919, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.

“I am a painter and I nail my pictures together,” Kurt Schwitters said to fellow artist Tristan Tzara in 1919. Throughout the 20's, the work flowed forth. He made no distinctions between his art (painting, collage, sculpture, design, installation), his writing (poetry, essays, children’s stories) and his performances. He met everybody who was anybody in that wild, creative world: Hannah Höch; Constructivists like El Lissitzky; Theo van Doesburg, a founder of the movement known as De Stijl — and collaborated with many of them. He traveled Europe nonstop, performed tirelessly, had shows and attracted collectors.

The multidisciplinary nature of Schwitters’s output and the destruction of so much in WW II, may be one of the reason why he remains an underground figure. He's impossible to categorize and while the show places an emphasis on his painting, there is so much more - a sound poem, for instance, his typography and his poetry which was unexpectedly popular.

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