*1887 in Hanover, Germany
†1956 in Kendal, United Kingdom
Kurt Schwitters was a German artist, painter, poet, installation artist and graphic designer, who was highly influential in the Dadaist movement and also in Constructivism and Surrealism. Most famous for his collages called Merz, many people credit him for inventing the modern collage, and also performance art, installation art, and sound art. Starting in 1909, Schwitters began his art studies at the School of Applied Arts, Hanover where he was working in an Expressionist-Cubist style, while also writing poems. His work as a draftsman in a factory during WWI influenced his interest in inanimate and industrial objects. After the war, Schwitters moved to Berlin and began to work closely with other vanguard artists like Höch, Hausmann, and Arp, and developed the idea of the Merz works and Ursonate poems. In 1920, he began work on the Merzbau house in Hanover and also exhibited in New York with Katherine Dreier’s Société Anonyme. He fled to Norway in 1937 to escape the Nazi regime and settled for the rest of his life in the United Kingdom. Today, Schwitters’ works are held by museums such as the Tate Britain, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Sprengel Museum, Hanover.