Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948), one of the most influential European avant-garde artists to come to prominence in the years between the World Wars, is seen here not as an artist in isolation but as part of a network of other refugee artists and figures in the European avant-garde. Associated at various times with Dada, Constructivism, and Surrealism, Schwitters produced paintings, collages, sound pieces, sculpture, and installation works, as well as journalism, criticism, poetry, and short stories. This book concentrates on Schwitters’s lesser-known late works, made during his time in Britain, but sets the scene by recounting and summarizing his earlier achievements.
Forced to flee Germany in 1936, Schwitters took refuge first in Norway and then, after the German invasion of Norway, in Britain. The last 8 years of his life were intensely productive, and culminated in his famous Merz Barn installation in England’s Lake District.