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

Mz 478 Gemälde

Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Mz 478 Gemälde
signed, dated and titled 'Mz 478 K. Schwitters. 1922. B' (on the artist's mount)
printed paper collage on paper
Image size: 7 1/8 x 5 5/8 in. (18.1 x 14.3 cm.)
Mount size: 9 ½ x 7 ½ in. (24.1 x 19 cm.)
Executed in 1922
Anon. sale, Sotheby & Co., London, 24 November 1964, lot 104.
M. Wyse, Cannes (acquired at the above sale).
Galerie Berggruen et Cie., Paris (1968).
Anon. sale, Kornfeld und Klipstein, Bern, 13-15 June 1968, lot 974.
Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne (acquired at the above sale)
Galerie Klewan, Vienna (acquired from the above, 1976).
Galerie Enrico G. Peyer, Zurich.
Private collection, Europe (acquired from the above, 1990); sale, Sotheby's, London, 28 June 2000, lot 251.
Simon C. Dickinson Ltd, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2013.
K. Orchard and I. Schulz, eds., Kurt Schwitters: Catalogue raisonné, 1905-1922, Bonn, 2003, vol. I, p. 494, no. 1015 (illustrated).
Vienna, Galerie Klewan, Kurt Schwitters: 12 Collagen, A. Jawlensky: Meditationen, Künstler der Galerie: Attersee, G. Brus, H. Nitsch, A. Rainer, D.Rot, G. Rühm, 1976, no. 3 (illustrated).
New York, Michael Werner Gallery, Kurt Schwitters, October-November 1990, no. 6 (illustrated in color).
Dusseldorf, Achenbach Kunsthandel, Kurt Schwitters, November 1993-January 1994, no. 20.
Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, The Age of Modernsm—Art in the 20th Century, May-July 1997, no. 233 (illustrated in color).

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Allegra Bettini
Allegra Bettini

Lot Essay

“I felt myself freed and had to shout my jubilation out to the world. Out of parsimony I took whatever I found to do this, because we were now a poor country. One can even shout out through refuse, and this is what I did, nailing and gluing it together. I called it ‘Merz,’ it was a prayer about the victorious end of the war, victorious as once again peace had won in the end; everything had broken down in any case and new things had to be made out of fragments: and this is Merz. I painted, nailed, glued, composed poems and experienced the world in Berlin” (Kurt Schwitters, quoted in W. Schmalenbach, Kurt Schwitters, New York, 1967, p. 96).
“Merz” (Mz) takes its name from a fragment of the words Kommerz und Privatbank and was an artistic revolution for Schwitters 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 seen on the streets, “ 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 colorful piece of paper that somebody had thrown away (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.

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