Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
VAT rate of 20% is payable on hammer price and buy… Read more Christie’s is delighted to have been appointed by UniCredit to manage the sale of artworks from Austria, Germany and Italy. The proceeds will be primarily used to support the further roll-out of the Group’s Social Impact Banking (SIB) initiatives. The remaining balance will be dedicated to other relevant projects, including the support of emerging artists. Following the excellent results of a selection of artworks already presented at various Christie’s international salerooms in 2019, 2020 will begin with the first pieces being offered in London on 6 February as part of the Impressionist & Modern Art Day and Works on Paper sales. UniCredit will also look to replace the masterpieces sold with works of young and emerging artists. The offering is led by Walter Dexel’s Segelschiff I, one of only five known avant-gardist representations of sailing boats within the German artist’s series of works on technical modern inventions. Completed in 1922, this superb example of Dexel’s distinct Constructivist idiom dates from a key period when the artist came into close contact with a network of influential figures of the early 20th-century art circuit namely Jean (Hans) Arp, El Lissitzky and contemporaries associated with the Bauhaus movement including the likes of Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius. Another star lot from this outstanding group is a work by a member of Dexel’s circle – Kurt Schwitters’ Ohne Titel (Gute Laune), circa 1945. The painting combines large areas of delicately painted geometric shapes, organic abstract forms and collage elements – exemplary of Schwitters’ growing interest in the raw and tactile physicality of paint during the late period of his artistic career. An exceptional selection from the Works on Paper sale completes the grouping, with three other fantastic works by Schwitters, Dexel’s Quadrat und Kreis (circa 1926) and Franz Radziwill’s Strandszene mit Krüppeln (1922). Social Impact Banking is part of UniCredit’s commitment to building a fairer and more inclusive society. It aims to identify, finance and promote people and companies that can have a positive social impact. As well as continuing to provide credit to projects and organisations not usually served by the traditional banking sector, UniCredit employees educate micro-entrepreneurs, social enterprises and vulnerable or disadvantaged groups, building valuable networks within our communities. SIB also focuses on monitoring and measuring outcomes, essential for sustainable growth. In 2019 SIB focused on further roll-out in additional UniCredit markets, including: Germany, Austria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. UniCredit is a successful pan-European Commercial Bank, with a fully plugged in CIB, delivering a unique Western, Central and Eastern European network to its extensive client franchise. UniCredit offers both local and international expertise to its clients, providing them with unparalleled access to leading banks in its fourteen core markets through its European banking network. Leveraging on an international network of representative offices and branches, UniCredit serves clients in another eighteen countries worldwide. ART FOR FUTURE – SELECTED WORKS FROM THE UNICREDIT GROUP
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)

Mz 221. Dramatik

Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Mz 221. Dramatik
signed, dated and inscribed 'Mz 221. Dramatik K. Schwitters. 1921.' (on the artist's mount); inscribed 'mz 221' (on the reverse of the artist's mount)
fabric, gouache, card and paper collage on paper
image: 5 ¼ x 4 1/8 in. (13.3 x 10.5 cm.)
artist's mount: 12 5/8 x 9 ¼ in. (32 x 23.3 cm.)
Executed in 1921
(possibly) Leo Castelli, New York.
Mr & Mrs Solomon Ethe, New York, by whom acquired in 1962.
Gertrude Stein Gallery, New York, by whom acquired in 1988.
Arnold Herstand & Company, New York, by whom acquired in 1990.
Achenbach Kunsthandel, Dusseldorf, by whom acquired in 1990.
Acquired from the above by the present owner on 25 November 1996.
K. Orchard & I. Schulz, eds., Kurt Schwitters: Catalogue Raisonné, vol. I, 1905-1922, Hannover, 2000, no. 822, p. 394 (illustrated).
Los Angeles, University of California, Constructivist Drawings and Posters, January 1927, no. 33.
San Antonio, Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, Kurt Schwitters, April - May 1962, no. 21; this exhibition later travelled to the Pasadena Art Museum, June - July 1962; Manchester, The Currier Museum of Art, September - October 1962; Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection, November 1962; Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, January - February 1963; and Louisville, J.B. Speed Art Museum, February - March 1963.
Taipei, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, The World According to Dada, June - August 1988, no. 122, p. 297 (illustrated fig. 51, p. 127).
Cologne, Galerie Stolz, Schöne Tage im Hause Dexel - Das Gästebuch - Walter Dexel zum 100. Geburtstag, February - April 1990, no. 78, p. 254 (illustrated p. 243).
New York, Michel Werner, Kurt Schwitters, October - November 1990, no. 3 (illustrated).
Dusseldorf, Achenbach Kunsthandel, Kurt Schwitters, November 1993 - January 1994.
Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Die Epoche der Moderne: Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert, May - July 1997, no. 229 (illustrated p.337).
Basel, Kunstmuseum, Schwitters - Arp, May - August 2004, no. 107, p. 250 (illustrated p. 35).
Vienna, Bank Austria Kunstforum, Past, Present, Future: Highlights from the UniCredit Art Collection, October 2009 - January 2010; this exhibition later travelled to Verona, Palazzo della Ragione, February - June 2010, and Istanbul, Yapi Kredi Culture Centre, November 2010 - January 2011.
Herford, Museum MARta, Things are queer. Highlights from the UniCredit Art Collection, February - June 2011, p. 37 (illustrated).
Zurich, Hauser & Wirth, Schwitters, Miró, Arp, June - September 2016, no. 107, pp. 188 & 193 (illustrated pl. 24).
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Annie Wallington
Annie Wallington

Lot Essay

'Its essence is absolute uninhibitedness and impartiality... Merz means forging relationships, preferably between all things in the world' (Kurt Schwitters quoted in F. Lach, Kurt Schwitters: Das literarische Werk, vol. V, Cologne, 1973-1981, p. 187).

'Merz', a made-up word which takes its name from a fragment of the words 'Kommerz und Privatbank', was an artistic revolution in which art and life were to be merged through the 'business' of assembling fragments and detritus of modern life into new glorified forms and expressions of the triumph of the human spirit. As Schwitters’ friend and neighbor in Hanover, Kate Steinitz, recalled, during this period Schwitters was frequently to be seen on the streets of Hanover, 'a crazy, original genius-character, carelessly dressed, absorbed in his own thoughts, picking up all sorts of curious stuff in the streets... always getting down from his bike to pick up some colourful piece of paper that somebody had thrown away' (K.T. Steinitz, Kurt Schwitters: A Portrait from Life, Berkeley, 1968, p. 68). From these fragments, Schwitters constructed poetic and miraculous constellations that expressed a new formal language and seemed to hint at a hidden order among the apparent chaos of the times.

Executed in 1921, Mz 221. Dramatik is an early Merz collage made at a time of hyper-inflation, revolution and counter-revolution in Germany following the end of the First World War. In this era of complete moral, political and financial bankruptcy, when paper currency had lost its value and only food, work or lodging remained commodities of real value (other than gold or foreign currency), Schwitters, alone in Hanover, established his own one-man avant-garde and 'cure' for the current age which he declared to be the 'Merz' revolution.

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