Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)

Mz 26,39. Sicilien

Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Mz 26,39. Sicilien
signed and dated 'Kurt Schwitters 1926.' (lower right) titled 'Mz 26,39. Sicilien' (lower left)
pencil and collage on paper on cardboard
28 x 22 cm.
Executed in 1926
Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne, 1997.
Knoedler & Company, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000.
K. Orchard & I. Schulz, Kurt Schwitters, Catalogue Raisonné, 1923-1936, Vol. 2, Hanover, 2003, no. 1410 (illustrated p. 198).
Prague, Kunstverein für Böhmen, Sonderausstellung Kurt Schwitters, 30 December 1926 - 16 January 1927, no. 11.
Wiesbaden, Nassauischer Kunstverein im Neuen Museum/ Bochum, Städtische Gemäldegalerie/ Barmen, Ruhmeshalle, Grosse Merzausstellung, 5 March- August 1927, no. 111.
Munich, Galerie Fred Jahn, Hans Arp, Kurt Schwitters, Collagen, 19 February - 14 March 1998, no. 18.
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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.
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Lisa Snijders
Lisa Snijders

Lot Essay

Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbild collages, of which Mz 26,39. Sicilien is an early example, belongs to a series of work which would consume the artist throughout his life and result in him becoming regarded as the leading exponent of the genre. Building on the work of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, who first began assembling pieces of found paper material in 1912, Schwitters abandons their figurative works and embraces the abstract. In many ways Schwitters’ work becomes the epitome of collage as Donald Kuspit defines it, “Collage destroys the effectiveness of the idea…that art’s highest achievement is not simply to create an illusion of life, but to function as a kind of representation of it. Life can be directly referenced—directly incorporated into art…Collage destroys the idea that life is a stable whole” (D. Kuspit, quoted by E. Hodermarsky, in The Synthetic Century: Collage from Cubism to Postmodernism, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 2002, p. 5). Here, in Mz 26,39. Sicilien and Ohne Titel (Mit braunem Kreis mit Sektorausschnit), Schwitters both “destroys” and “incorporates” the real world by laying down fragments of textured paper, pieces of packaging and even the printed page from a book into a geometric arrangement of flat color and form. Amid the strict geometry and utilitarian nature of the paper elements, there remains elements of “life” that can be seen in the annotations made in pencil upon the paper—a poignant reminder of the dichotomy that lies at the heart of collage.

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