Schwitters, Kurt

Schwitters, Kurt

(ko͝ort shvĭt`ərs), 1887–1948, German artist, b. Hannover. Influenced by KandinskyKandinsky, Wassily or Vasily
, 1866–1944, Russian abstract painter and theorist. Usually regarded as the originator of abstract art, Kandinsky abandoned a legal career for painting at 30 when he moved to Munich.
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, by Picasso's reliefs, and by DadaDada
or Dadaism
, international nihilistic movement among European artists and writers that lasted from 1916 to 1922. Born of the widespread disillusionment engendered by World War I, it originated in Zürich with a 1916 party at the Cabaret Voltaire and the
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 constructions, he invented Merz [trash] constructions—arrangements of diverse materials and objects. His superb and pioneering abstract collagescollage
[Fr.,=pasting], technique in art consisting of cutting and pasting natural or manufactured materials to a painted or unpainted surface—hence, a work of art in this medium.
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 are among the most outstanding and inventive creations ever produced in this medium. Schwitters also created gigantic architectural structures out of rubbish and other materials, the most important of which was the large sculptural environment entitled Merzbau, created in the early 1930s. In addition, he was a painter, a poet, an essayist, and a writer of children's stories. Schwitters's art was condemned by the Nazis as "degenerate" and he fled to England, where he lived a hand-to-mouth existence and was finally granted citizenship a day before he died. Schwitters had an enormous influence on post–World War II artists in Europe and the United States.

Bibliography

See I. Schulz, ed., Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage (2010).

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