Kurt Schwitters (1887, Hanover, Germany – 1948, Kendal, UK) — German artist. Schwitters worked
in several genres and media, including Dadaism, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting,
sculpture, graphic design, typography, and installation art. Soon after World War I Schwitters was
attracted by the emerging Dada school but denied membership in the Berlin circle of Dadaists and
formed his own variant in Hannover. He began to create compositions assembled from various
everyday objects (train tickets, wooden spools, newspaper, string, cigarettes, and postage stamps).
Similarly, his poems were composites of newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and other printed
ephemera. He referred to all of his artistic activities as Merz, a nonsense word derived from the word
Kommerz (German commerce). His collages were called Merzbilden (Merz pictures). About 1920
Schwitters conceived the idea of building a cathedral of everyday objects — a three-
dimensional assemblage, called Merzbau (Merz building) — into his house in Hannover and continued
to add to it for 16 years until there was little room left in the house for anything else. It was destroyed
during World War II. In 1937, when the German government declared Schwitters’ art degenerate, he
moved to Norway and later, in 1940, was forced to escape to England.