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Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
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Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)

Merzbild 9A Bild mit Damestein (L Merzbild L5)

Details
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Merzbild 9A Bild mit Damestein (L Merzbild L5)
signed, dated and inscribed 'K.Schwitters 1919 250 M.10 Merzbild 9A Bild mit Damestein' (on the reverse)
oil, paper, card, canvas, metal and wool assemblage on cardboard in the artist's frame
7¼ x 8½ in. (18.4 x 21.5 in.), including the artist's frame
Executed in 1919
Provenance
Ernst Schwitters, Lysaker, by descent from the artist in 1948.
David Thomson, Toronto, by 1985.
Marlborough Fine Art, London (no. 33921.1).
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, New York, 6 November 1991, lot 32.
Galerie Jan Krugier, Ditesheim & Cie., Geneva (no. 5110), by 1999.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
W. Schmalenbach, Kurt Schwitters, New York, 1967, p. 25 (illustrated).
C. Giedion-Welcker, Schriften 1926-1971, Cologne, 1973, p. 13 (illustrated).
J. Elderfield, Kurt Schwitters, London, 1987 (illustrated p. 46).
K. Orchard & I. Schulz, eds., Kurt Schwitters, Catalogue raisonné, vol. I, 1905-1922, Hanover, 2000, no. 429, p. 215 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Berlin, Galerie Der Sturm [Herwarth Walden], Kunstausstellung der Sturm, December 1919, no. 5.
Hanover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Kurt Schwitters, February - March 1956, no. 43; this exhibition later travelled to Bern, Kunsthalle, April - May 1956; Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, June 1956; Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, October - November 1956; and Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts, November - December 1956.
Dusseldorf, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Dada, September - October 1958, no. 474; this exhibition later travelled to Frankfurt, Karmeliterkloster, October - November 1958; and Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, December 1958 - February 1959.
Venice, XXX Biennale Internazionale di Venezia, June - October 1960, no. 62.
Stockholm, Konstsalongen Samlaren im Konstnärshuset, Kurt Schwitters, 1887-1948: Retrospektivt, 1962, no. 21; this exhibition later travelled to Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst und Kunstforeningen, November 1962; London, Marlborough Fine Art, March - April 1963, no. 28; Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum und Kölnischer Kunstverein, October - November 1963, no. 20; Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, January - March 1964; and Rome, Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, April - May 1964, no. 15.
Los Angeles, UCLA Art Galleries, Kurt Schwitters: Retrospective, March - April 1965, no. 20; this exhibition later travelled to New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, May - June 1965; Kansas City, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, July - August 1965; and Toronto, Art Gallery of Toronto, September - October 1965.
Dallas, Museum of Fine Arts, Kurt Schwitters: Retrospective, November - December 1965; this exhibition later travelled to San Francisco, Museum of Art, January - February 1966; and St Louis, City Art Museum, March - April 1966.
Dusseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, Kurt Schwitters, January - March 1971, no. 18; this exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Akademie der Künste, March - April 1971; Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, May - July 1971; Basel, Kunsthalle, July - September 1971; and Hamburg, Kunstverein, September - November 1971.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Merz: Kurt Schwitters, October 1972, no. 15 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Zurich, November 1972 - January 1973; New York, Marlborough Gallery, February - March 1973; Rome, Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, September - November 1973; and Vienna, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, December 1973.
Madrid, Fundación Juan March, Kurt Schwitters, September - December 1982, no. 19; this exhibition later travelled to Barcelona, Fundació Joan Miró, December 1982.
New York, Marlborough Gallery, Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries, May - June 1983, no. 43 (illustrated).
Karuizawa, The Museum of Modern Art, Seibu Takanawa, Kurt Schwitters, July - October 1983, no. 17 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art, October - November 1983.
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Kurt Schwitters, June - October 1985, no. 47 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to London, Tate Gallery, November 1985 - January 1986; and Hanover, Sprengel Museum, February - April 1986.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Adrienne Dumas
Adrienne Dumas

Lot Essay

'One can also shout through refuse, and this is what I did, nailing and gluing it togetherit was to some extent a social viewpoint' (Kurt Schwitters, quoted in F. Lach, Kurt Schwitters. Das literarische Werk, vol. V, Cologne, 1973-1981, p. 335).

Executed in 1919, Merzbild 9A Bild mit Damenstein (Merzbild 9A, Picture with Checker) is one of the very first of Kurt Schwitters Merz-Pictures. Making use of a wide range of detritus from painted strips of cardboard and canvas to tufts of wool, a tin lid and the wooden 'draught' or 'checker' of the title, Schwitters has here assembled an angular and dynamic composition reminiscent of his earlier brooding Expressionist paintings.

Contrasting material reality with the abstract brushwork of pictorial composition, the picture is a whimsical and carefully organized play between constructive order and the apparent chaos of material. 'Merz' was the name that Schwitters gave to his one-man art movement born in the Summer of 1919. It was after being rejected in his application to join Berlin's 'Club Dada' by members resentful of Schwitters' ongoing affiliation with Herwarth Walden's Der Sturm gallery, that Schwitters baptized this highly original work 'Merz' and effectively set out on his own. Taking its name from a fragment of the words 'Kommerz und Privatbank' that Schwitters had cut out for one of his collages 'Merz' soon became a one-man artistic revolution in which art and life were to be merged through the 'business' of assembling fragments and detritus of modernity into new glorified forms and expressions of the triumph of the human spirit. 'Merz-Painting', Schwitters announced at this time 'aims at direct expression by shortening the interval between the intuition and realization of the work of art' (Kurt Schwitters, 'Merzmalerei', 1919, quoted in ibid, p. 51).

As with Walden's Der Sturm which by 1919 comprised a gallery, a magazine, a theatre and a book series amongst many other things, Schwitters too sought to translate 'Merz' into complete organization geared towards the revolutionary transformation of both art and life. 'Merz is a philosophy' he proclaimed. 'Its essence is absolute uninhibitedness and impartiality... Merz means forging relationships, preferably between all things in the world' (Kurt Schwitters quoted in F. Lach, op cit., p. 187).

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