Kurt Schwitters

1887
Born to Eduard and Henriette Schwitters in Hanover, Germany.

1894
Begins school at the Modernes Realgymnasium I, Hanover.

1901
Has first epileptic seizure and starts to have problems with a nervous disorder.

1911
First time represented in an exhibition with five works included in a show at the Hanover.

1913
Included in the "Grosse Kunstausstellung" exhibition at the Hanover Kunstverein. He contributes to this exhibition several times prior to 1934.

1915
Becomes engaged to Helma Fischer in June and marries her a few months later in October.

1917
Begins to be interested in Expressionism and abstract art. Creates 'Abstractions' series of oil paintings. Declared unfit for service as a WWI soldier in Reichs-Infanteriereregiment 73.

1918
Begins a series of abstract drawings and another of oil paintings, entitled Expressions. Also produces his first collages. Son, Ernst, is born in November.

1923
Begins to produce his first reliefs and work on the Merzbau building in Hanover, Germany begins.

1927
Co-founds "die abstrakten hannover", a sub-group of the Berlin artists' group, which holds many joint exhibitions in the following years.

1931
Elected Honorary President of the Société Anonyme and becomes a member of the artists' association Abstraction-Création in Paris.

1934
Work shown in the autumn show of Hanover artists at the Hanover Kunstverein. This marks the last presentation of Schwitters's work in National Socialist Germany, apart from defamatory presentations.

1937
Flees to Norway and decides to not return due to the political situation in Germany.

1940
German troops invade Norway; forcing Schwitters's to flee to Scotland. There he stays in various internment camps, setting up studios and working in some of them.

1941
Released from the internment camp and moves to London.

1944
Suffers a stroke while ill with influenza, which leads to a temporary paralysis of one side of his body.

1947
Awarded a fellowship by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, intended for the re-building of one of the Merz buildings in Germany. Uses the award to create Merzbau, the Merz Barn, in the Lake District. Work on the project is later interrupted when Schwitters suffers a haemorrhage.

1948
Dies on 8 January in Kendal Hospital.

 

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

1919
Galerie Goyert, Cologne
'Der Sturm. 76. Ausstellung. Kurt Schwitters. M. Langenstrass-Uhlig', Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin

1920
Galerie Herbert Cramer, Frankfurt (Main)

1921
'Werkprasentationen in Schaufenstern', Residenz-Kaufhaus, Buchhandlung Herinrich Bender und Zigarrenhaus Robert Herrmann, Dresden
'Der Sturm. 96. Ausstellung. Kurt Schwitters. Merzbilder, Merzzeichnungen. Gesamtschau', Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin

1922
'MERZ Ausstellung. Gemalde und Zeichnungen von Kurt Schwitters (Anna Blume)', Roemer-Museum, Hildesheim
'Der Sturm. 108. Ausstellung. Kurt Schwitters. L. Losinzova-Ehrenburg. Gesamtschau', Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin
'Kurt Schwitters', Graphisches Kabinett Georg Maulhardt, Hamburg
'Kurt Schwitters', Kunstsalon Maria Kunde, Hamburg

1925
'Der Sturm. 138. Ausstellung. Otto Nebel. Kurt Schwitters. Gesamtschau', Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin

1927
'Sonderausstellung Kurt Schwitters', Kunstverein fur Bohmen, Prague
'Grosse Merzausstellung 1927', Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden im Neuen Museum, Wiesbaden, Gemaldegalerie, Bochum, Ruhmeshalle, Barmen, Kunstsalon L. Schames, Frankfurt (Main), Galerie Dr. Becker und Alfred Newman, Cologne, Kunstverein Hannover

1934
'Kurt Schwitters', Galerie Blomqvist, Oslo, Norway

1944
'Paintings and Sculpture by Kurt Schwitters', The Modern Art Gallery, London

1945
'Kurt Schwitters aus schweizerischem Privatbesitz [Erweiterung der Ausstellung "Der Sturm - Sammlung Nell Walden aus den Jahren 1912-1920"]', Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern

1948
'Kurt Schwitters', The Pinacotheca, New York
'Gedachtnisausstellung Kurt Schwitters', Galerie d'Art Modern Basel, Basle

1952
'Collage, Painting, Relief & Sculpture by Schwitters', Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago

1953
'Small Group of Collages by Kurt Schwitters', Rose Fried Gallery, New York

1954
'Kurt Schwitters. Collages', Galerie Berggruen, Paris

1956
'Kurt Schwitters', Kestner-Gesellschaft Hannover, Hanover, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, (together with Hans Arp); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, des Beaux-Arts, Liege
'Kurt Schwitters. 57 Collages', Sidney Janis Gallery, New York

1957
'Collages by Kurt Schwitters', The Phillips Gallery, Washington

1958
'Kurt Schwitters', Lord's Gallery, London

1959
'Kurt Schwitters. Collagen, Reliefs, Olbilder, Plastiken', Galerie Schmela, Dusseldorf
'75 Collages by Kurt Schwitters', Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
'Kurt Schwitters', Galleria del Naviglio, Milan
'A New Selection of Collages by Kurt Schwitters', Lord's Gallery, London
'Kurt Schwitters 1887-1948', Cambridge Arts Council Gallery, Cambridge, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, Herbert Temporary Art Gallery, Coventry, Glasgow University Print Room, Glasgow

1960
'Kurt Schwitters. 1887-1948', Minami Gallery, Tokyo

1961
'Kurt Schwitters', VI Bienal de Sao Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo
'Kurt Schwitters', Ulmer Museum Ulm
'Schwitters', Galleria Schwarz, Milan

1962
'Kurt MERZ Schwitters. 1887-1948. Retrospektivt / Schwitters / Kurt Schwitters. 1887-1948 / Kurt Schwitters. 1887-1948. Schilderijen, collages, sculpturen, tekeningen / Schwitters. Mostra retrospettiva', Konstsalongen Samlaren im Konstnarshuset, Stockholm, Statens Museum for Kunst und Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen, Marlborough Fine Art, London, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum und Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Toninelli Arte Moderna, Milan, Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, Rome
'50 Collages by Schwitters', Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
'Kurt Schwitters', Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio (Texas), Rasadena Art Museum, Pasadena (California), The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester (New Hampshire), The Phillips Collection, Washington, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Minnesota), J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville (Kentucky)

1963
'Kurt Schwitters', Galerie Chalette, New York
'Schwitters', Galleria Schwarz, Milan

1964
'Kurt Schwitters in the Lake District', Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal

1965
'Kurt Schwitters. Retrospective', University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (Missouri), Art Gallery of Toronto, Toronto (Ontario)
'Kurt Schwitters. "Aphorismer" 1918-1947. Collage och relief', Lonstsalongen Samlaren, Stockholm
'Kurt Schwitters. A Retrospective Exhibition', Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas (Texas), San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, City Art Museum of Saint Louis, Saint Louis (Missouri)

1966
'Schwitters', Galleria Il Punto, Turin

1967
'Kurt Schwitters i scensk ago', Konstsalongen Samlaren, Stockholm

1971
'Kurt Schwitters', Stadtische Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, Akademie der Kunste, Berlin, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Kunsthalle Basel, Basle, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg
'Kurt Schwitters', Galerie Vomel, Dusseldorf

1972
'Kurt Schwitters. Works in the Museum Collections / Kurt Schwitters', The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (Maryland), Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma (Washington), Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens (Georgia), Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign (Illinois), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (Massachusetts)
'Kurt Schwitters', Marlborough Fine Art, London, Marlborough Galerie, Zurich, Marlborough Gallery, New York, Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, Rom, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Wien

1976
'Kurt Schwitters', New 57 Gallery, Edinburgh

1977
'Kurt Schwitters. Merzbilder', The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

1978
'Kurt Schwitters', Marlborough Gallery, New York
'Kurt Schwitters', Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne

1980
'Kurt Schwitters', Galerie Gmurzynska at the FIAC, Grand Palais, Paris

1981
'Kurt Schwitters in Exile: The Late Work 1937-1948. Kurt Schwitters im Exil: Das Spatwerk 1937-1948', Marlborough Fine Art, London

1982
'Kurt Schwitters. Dada, Collages, Drawings, Objects', Worthington Gallery, Chicago
'Kurt Schwitters in England', Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal
'Kurt Schwitters', Fundacion Juan March, Madrid, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona
'Kurt Schwitters', The Museum of Modern Art, Seibu Takanawa, Karuizawa, The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Seibu Hall, Seibu Department Stores, Otsu Store, Otsu

1985
'Kurt Schwitters. Words and Works', Helen Serger / La Boetie, New York
'Kurt Schwitters. Die spaten Werke', Museum Ludwig, Cologne
'Kurt Schwitters', Marlborough Gallery, New York
'Kurt Schwitters, The Museum of Modern Art', New York, Tate Gallery, London, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover

1987
'Der Typograph Kurt Schwitters', Stadtbibliothek Hannover, Hanover
'Schwitters in Britain 1940-1948', Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal
'Kurt Schwitters', Marlborough Fine Art, Tokyo

1988
'Kurt Schwitters: Collages and Other Works on Paper', Louis Newman Galleries, Beverly Hills (California)

1989
'Kurt Schwitters', Kreissparkasse Hannover, Hanover
'Kurt Schwitters. 1887-1948. Der Kunstler von MERZ', Graphisches Kabinett, Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner, Bremen
'Kurt Schwitters. 1887-1948. Der Kunstler von MERZ', Graphisches Kabinett, Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner, Bremen

1990
'Kurt Schwitters', Galerie Michael Werner, New York

1991
'Kurt Schwitters', Achenbach Kunsthandel, Frankfurt (Main)

1992
'Kurt Schwitters', Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner c/o Susanne Gropp, Berlin

1993
'Kurt Schwitters', Achenbach Kunsthandel, Dusseldorf

1994
'Kurt Schwitters', Galerie Lelong, Zurich
'Kurt Schwitters', Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee national d'art moderne, Paris, IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia, Musee de Grenoble, Grenoble

1995
'Kurt Schwitters. Late Paintings and Collages', Galerie Michael Werner, New York

1996
'Kurt Schwitters', Galleria Blu, Milan
'De Pictura - Emil Schumacher, Kurt Schwitters, Povilas Ricardas Vaitekunas. Kurt Schwitters: Schilderijen uit Noorwegen. Paintings from Norway', Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

1997
'Kurt Schwitters in Nederland. Merz, De Stijl + Holland Dada', Stadsgalerij Heerlen, Heerlen (Limburg)
'Kurt Schwitters Landskaper', Molde Kunstforening, Molde, Kunstforening, Alesund, Kunstforening, Kristiansund, Kulturhuset, Sunndalsora, Galleri Elvetum, Sykkylven

1999
'No Socks. Kurt Schwitters and the Merzbard', Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Hatton Gallery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne

2000
'Kurt Schwitters. Eine Retrospektive', Museum der bildenden Kunste Leipzig, Leipzig, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
'Aller Anfang ist Merz. Von Kurt Schwitters bis heute', Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Haus der Kunst, Munich

2001
'Kurt Schwitters. Collages, dipinti e sculture 1914-1947', PAC - Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan

2002
'Schwitters', Kunstforum Wien, Vienna

2003
'Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948). Collages, Paintings, Drawings, Objects, Ephemera', Ubu Gallery, New York
'Kurt Schwitters', Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

2004
'Kurt Schwitters', Muzeum Sztuki
'Kurt Schwitters. Assemblagen und Collagen', Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne
'"I Build My Time." Kurt Schwitters im Ambleside', Armitt Museum & Library, Ambleside
Kurt Schwitters. Merz - ein Gesamtweltbild, Museum Tinguely, Basle
Schwitters Arp, Kunstmeseum Basel, Basle

2005
'Kurt Schwitters. Der Merzbau', Bertretund des Landes Niedersachsen beim Bund, Berlin

2006
'Merzbiete. Kurt Schwitters und seine Freunde / Kurt Schwitters en de avant-garde', Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

2007
'Kurt Schwitters 1887-1948 O Artista Merz', Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo, Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba

2010
'Kurt Schwitters. Color and Collage', Houston (Texas), The Menil Collection; Princeton (New Jersey), Art Museum, Princeton University and Berkeley (California), Berkeley Art Museum, University of California

2013
'Schwitters in Britain', Tate Britain, London
'Schwitters in England', Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover

2016
'Everything is Dada', Yale University Art Gallery, Connecticut

 

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
British Museum, London
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid
Museum of Fine Arts, Bern
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Galleries of Scotland
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Tate Gallery, London
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The Kurt and Ernst Schwitters Foundation, Hanover
Victoria and Albert Museum, London