Kurt Schwitters


Born Kurt Hermann Edward Karl Julius Schwitters on 20 June 1887 in Hannover. ‘I was born as a very little child,’ he later wrote. 1908-9: studied art and interior design at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Hannover. 1909-15: studied at the Königlich Sächsischen Akademie der Künste (Kunstakademie), Dresden. 1915: settled in Hannover. March-June 1917: brief military service; declared unfit, then worked as an engineering draughtsman in an ironworks. 1918: produced his first collages; by the following year Schwitters was calling these collages, consisting of paper scraps, Merz pictures (the name probably derived from Kom merz bank, the middle syllable of which was an element on one of these early collages). (The actual name of the bank was Kommerz- und Privatbank.) 1918: son Ernst born (1918-96); met Käte Steinitz. 1919-24: attained fame/notoriety by producing Merz pictures, Merz poetry, Merz sculpture, Merz stage design, Merz theatre, Merz music. Merz work exhibited throughout Germany. 1922: started Merz magazine (editor and typographer); Merz 1-24 published 1923-32 (from his family’s flat at Waldhausenstrasse 5, Hannover). Designed and edited Die Merzmappe, Merz no. 3, which consisted of discards from the printer of the magazine. 1923: collaborates with Lissitsky on advertisement for Pelikan. 1924: founded the advertising agency Merz Werbezentrale; writes Werbegestaltung (design of advertisements). Designed advertisements for Bahlsen, Pelikan. 1924-8: with Käte Steinitz produced three children’s books, songs, plays, poems for two festivals, and an opera libretto (using the publishing imprint Merzverlag); Theo von Doesburg was an occasional co-collaborator. 1924: Merzverlag became Aposs Publications (Active Paradox Without [Ohne] Sentimentality Sensitive). By 1927: received typographic commissions from industrial clients and Hannover City Council. 1927: designed the typeface Systemschrift (for analysis of Systemschrift see below: D. Helms, exh. cat ., Wiesbaden: Landesmuseum, 1990, pp. 98-107). Late 1927: formation of the ring ‘neue werbegestalter’ (circle of modern advertising designers) with Schwitters its chairman. 1928: examples of his typographic work in Jan Tschichold’s Die neue Typographie (The New Typography). January 1929-end of 1934: Merzwerbezentrale designed all printed matter for Hannover City Council (see below: D. Helms, exh. cat ., Wiesbaden: Landesmuseum, 1990, pp. 87-9). 1929: designed all printed matter for Dammerstock exhibition, Karlsruhe City Council. 1932: His ‘sound-poem’ Ursonate published (typography by Tschichold) in Merz 24.

‘In the course of 1933 galleries were closed, museums plundered, books and pictures burned. The policy of Gleichschaltung [bringing into line] involved ejecting “unacceptable” members of organizations so that they could “voluntarily” be replaced by Nazis…Kurt escaped the base treatment meted out to so many of his friends only because he was a free-lance artist. He was of course doomed to lose his job as typographer for Hanover City Council… ’. (Webster, 1997, pp. 249-50; see below)

From 1935: spent more time in Norway (which he had first visited in 1931). 1 Jan. 1937: emigrated to Norway, and lived at Lysaker, near Oslo. July 1937: four works in ‘Entartete Kunst’ (Degenerate art) exhibition, Munich.

‘In the summer of 1939 in the very vanguard of World War II, Mrs Belt and I were travelling in the mountains of Norway. There, in a small Norwegian village, we met this blond, blue-eyed refugee from Germany. Hitler’s boiling cauldron had already become too hot for him.

‘He made a bitter joke of his exit. At a gathering of artists he had been asked, possibly as a test of loyalty, to comment on newly painted portraits of Hitler and of Goebbels. He walked out on the stage with the portraits and said: “Well, here they are, friends, shall we hang them or stand them against the wall?”

‘After that remark he quickly departed for Norway, at the earnest urging of his friends. A courageous teen-aged son [Ernst, born 1919], who would not join the Hitler Youth Movement was with him, and he had brought out with him also a few of his paintings. These he was offering for sale….

‘Graciously Kurt Schwitters posed before my Leica for his picture…I had a strong feeling he longed to join us as we returned to America. Indeed, he was soon to become a fugitive once more; as Germany marched into Norway, he escaped over stormy seas to England on the icebreaker Fritjof Nansen .’ (Elmer Belt, quoted in Foreword to Steinitz, 1968; EB’s photo of KS repr. in Steinitz, Erinnerungen, 1963 (opp. p. 61; see below), and in Marlborough Fine Art, 1981, p. 2; see below)

April 1940: Nazis invaded Norway. 8 June 1940: KS fled with son Ernst and daughter-in-law Esther on last ship to leave Norway; much of his work was left in crates near Oslo. 18 June 1940: arrived in Edinburgh; interned 17 months in Britain: first at a school in Edinburgh, then in various camps including at York racecourse (six weeks), Warth Mills in Bury, Lancashire (four weeks), finally, Hutchinson internment camp, Douglas, Isle of Man to autumn 1941 where he became, officially, ‘Alien 14788’. Here he lectured at the camp’s ‘university’, and painted portraits of his fellow detainees.

‘Kurt Schwitters…was our main star. Not only was he a world famous artist but he also was [a] most fascinating raconteur and could keep a full house entertained for hours. He wrote and recited a symphony in words…

‘Some people did not bother to apply at all [for release after 3 months] especially the artist Kurt Schwitters. He was quite happy there. He was fed and housed well and could paint all day without having to worry about money or other mundane things. He also had a captive audience for all his stories.’ (©Freddy Godshaw: obtain permission from bbc.co.ukwww2peopleswar )

Schwitters was released November 1941. Dec. 1941-March 1942: lived with Ernst and Esther at 3 St Stephen’s Crescent, Bayswater, London (where he met Edith Thomas (1915-91) who would be his partner (‘Wantee’) during his last years (collage, 1947). Summer 1942-autumn 1945: lived at 39 Westmoreland Road, Barnes, south London. His house in Hannover had been destroyed in an air raid on 8 October 1943. 26 June 1945: moved to Ambleside, Cumbria (the Lake District: it reminded him of Norway). October 1946: member of the Lake Artists’ Society; wins first and second prizes for his flower pictures. Ambleside addresses: 2 Gale Crescent, then 4 Millans Park. Died 8 January 1948 in Ambleside. Buried first in St Mary’s churchyard, Ambleside; remains re-interred August 1970 in the Engesohder Friedhof, Hannover. His gravestone remains in Ambleside.

‘What England offered him in reality during his eight years here was internment, obscurity, illness, penury, discomfort and death.’ (John Russell, The Sunday Times, 17 March 1963, quoted in Marlborough Fine Art, 1981, exh. cat.)

Schwitters’ worked on his first Merzbau (‘room construction’) at his house in Hannover from 1923-36/7 (destroyed in the war, October 1943); his second in Lysaker, Norway, from 1937-40 (destroyed by fire, 1951) His third and last Merzbau, which he created in 1947 at Cylinders Farm, Elterwater (five miles from Ambleside), can be seen at The Hatton Gallery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. A replica was created for the Dada exhibitions, late 2005-2006.

The Sprengel Museum, Hannover, containing the most extensive archive of the work of Schwitters, is located at Kurt-Schwitters-Platz. A Kurt Schwitters Prize for Visual Arts is awarded by the city of Hannover.

The National Gallery of Art Library, Washington DC, acquired the Schwitters-Steinitz Collection in 1976.

An opera about Kurt Schwitters in postwar London, Man and Boy: Dada , libretto by Michael Hastings, score by Michael Nyman, was issued in 2005 (MN Records).

The comprehensive reference of Schwitters’ writings is Friedhelm Lach, Kurt Schwitters. Das literarische Werk, Cologne: DuMont, 1973-81 (5 vols.): Vol. 1: ‘Lyrik’, Vol. 2: ‘Prosa 1918-30’, Vol. 3: ‘Prosa 1931-48’, (includes writings in English, from 1941), Vol. 4: ‘Schauspiele und Szenen’, Vol. 5: ‘Manifeste und kritische Prosa’. The last volume, of most interest to designers, includes, among others, autobiography (pp. 240-42, 335-6), ‘Werbe-Gestaltung’, Die neue Gestaltung in der Typographie, writings on number forms, Systemschrift (pp. 274-8), Gestaltende Typographie (1928, pp. 311-14), Über einheitliche Gestaltung von Drucksachen (standardization of design of printed matter) (1930, pp. 324-34), ‘der ring neue Werbegestalter’ (1930, p. 337), key to reading sound poems (1946).

Writings by

  • 1919-59: ‘Die Merzmalerei’, Der Cicerone, 1919, pp. 580, 582 (repr. from ‘Sturm’ exh. cat ., July 1919)
  • performing his poem Ursonate in 1920 (CD), Wergo, WER 6304-2, 1994
  • recording of KS performing his Ursonate in 1920 can be heard on www.soroptimist.de
  • ‘Merz’ (written 19 Dec. 1920, and 4 poems), Der Ararat (journal), Munich, 1921, pp 3-11, (repr. in Das Kunstwerk, Jan. 1958, p. 37)
  • ‘Meine Ansicht über den Wert der Kritik’, Der Ararat, 1921, pp. 177-8
  • Memoiren Anna Blumes in Bleie, Schnitter-Bücher, 1922
  • Werbegestaltung (advertising design), 1924
  • Die Märchen vom Paradies (with Käte Steinitz: Der Hahnepeter, Der Paradiesvogel, Das Paradies auf der Wiese), Hannover: Aposs, 1924 (repr. Bern: Lang, 1975)
  • ‘Thesen über Typographie’, 1924 (repr. in Richard von Sichowsky and Hermann Tiemann (eds.), Typographie und Bibliophilie, Hamburg: Maximilian-Gesellschaft, 1971, pp. 179-81)
  • Die Scheuche. Märchen (with Steinitz and Theo van Doesburg), Hannover: Aposs, 1925 (repr. Munich: Akademie für das Graphische Gewerbe, 1961, Stockholm: Gallery Samlaaren, 1965, Bern: Lang, 1975)
  • Werbe-Gestaltung (advertising design), c1927
  • article on his typeface Systemschrift, Klimschs Druckereianzeiger, 13 Sept. 1927
  • ‘der ring neue werbegestalter’, 1930 (repr. in Lach, v. 5, 1981, p. 337: see below)
  • Die neue Gestaltung in der Typographie, 1930 (repr. in D. Helms, 1990, pp. 73-4
  • see below)
  • 1960-present: Anna Blume und Ich (autobiography, Ernst Schwitters, ed.), Zurich: Arche, 1965
  • brief introduction in Wieland Schmied (ed.), Wegbereiter zur modernen Kunst. 50 Jahre Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover: Fackelträger, 1966, p. 9
  • Text + Kritik (Munich), Oct. 1972 (‘An alle Bühnen der Welt’, 1919
  • ‘Der sächsische Ozean’
  • ‘Schäferspiel’
  • ‘Der Schirm’, 1928)
  • Ernst Nündel (ed.), Kurt Schwitters: Wir spielen, bis uns der Tod abholt (correspondence over 50 years), Frankfurt a.M.: Ullstein, 1974
  • Merzhefte, Bern/Frankfurt: Lang, 1975 (facsimile editions)
  • Ernst Nündel (ed.), Kurt Schwitters: Wir spielen bis uns der Tod abholt. Briefe aus fünf Jahrzehnten, Frankfurt a.M./Berlin, 1977 (correspondence)
  • Gerhard Schaub, Kurt Schwitters und die ‘andere’ Schweiz, Berlin: Fannei & Walz, 1998 (letters to/from Swiss friends including Jan and Edith Tschichold)
  • Rudi Fuchs, Siegfried Gohr and others, Kurt Schwitters[.] I is Style (exh. cat. and trade ed. in English), Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, and Rotterdam: Nai, 2000 (9 brief writings by KS, autobiography of June 1926, writings about, bibliography)
  • essays in Per Kirkeby, Schwitters. Norwegian landscapes, the Zoological Gardens Lottery and more stories, Hellerup: Blondal, 1995.

Writings about

  • R. Hausmann, ‘Visual reading the aim of future book typography’ (Systemschrift
  • new designs for type), Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., June 1930, pp. 50-55
  • John Elderfield, Kurt Schwitters, London: Thames & Hudson, 1985
  • Jan Tschichold, ‘New life in print’, Commercial Art, 1930, IX, pp. 1-20 (‘The New Typography’ explained
  • KS’s trademarks, letterheads)
  • For facsimiles of Merz volumes, see Merzhefte, 1975, below.
  • On the Lake District Merzbarn, see Brookes, 1969. On correspondence with the Museum of Modern Art, NY, see in Google: Adrian Sudhalter.
  • The number of titles concerning Schwitters and his work is enormous
  • a brief selection follows. Definitive references (for details see below) are Lach, 1973-81
  • Marlborough Fine Art, 1981
  • Schmalenbach, 1984
  • D. Helms, 1990 (for KS’s typographic work)
  • An excellent biography, unillustrated, is Webster, 1997. In addition there are many items on the Internet.
  • The most comprehensive references for Schwitters’ work are Karin Orchard and Isabel Schulz (eds.), Kurt Schwitters. Catalogue raisonné, 3 vols ., 2000, 2002, 2004, German and English (see below under 2000)
  • and Kurt Schwitters (exh. cat., French text), Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, Nov. 1994.
  • 1919-55: Christof Spengemann, ‘Kurt Schwitters’, Der Cicerone, 1919, pp. 573-80
  • Adolf Behne, ‘Kurt Schwitters’, Der Cicerone, 1920, p. 416
  • Kurt Schwitters (‘Sturmbilderbücher IV’), Berlin: Verlag der Sturm, 1921
  • Paul F. Schmidt, review of Kurt Schwitters, in Der Ararat, 1921, p. 117
  • Heinrich Jost, ‘Zweifel’ (includes KS’s Systemschrift
  • comments on new type designs: Bayer, Schwitters, Tschichold), Klimschs Jahrbuch, 1928, pp. 6-15
  • Heinz and Bodo Rasch, Gefesselter Blick, Stuttgart: Zaugg, 1930, pp. 88-93 (repr. Baden, Switzerland: Müller, 1996)
  • Fritz Helmuth Ehmcke, ‘Lob der Grafik’, Die Form, 1931, v. 10, pp. 361-6 (work of KS , F.H. Ehmcke, Max Burchartz) Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, ‘Kurt Schwitters 1887-1948’, Forum, no. 12, v. 3, Amsterdam, 1948 (enlarged version in Bauwelt, 30 March 1959, and in D. Helms, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, 1976, pp. 43-5) Heinz Vahlbruch, ‘Kurt Schwitters, Maler und Dichter’, Das Kunstwerk, 1953, v. 3/4, pp. 26a-30 (includes Merz Manifesto ) Harry Pierce, ‘Die letzte Lebenszeit von Kurt Schwitters’, Das Kunstwerk, 1953, v. 3/4, pp. 32-5
  • 1956-65: Stefan Themerson, Kurt Schwitters in England, 1940-48, London: Gaberbocchus, 1958
  • Richard P. Lohse, ‘The influence of modern art on contemporary graphic design’, New Graphic Design, Sept. 1958
  • ‘Anthologie der Abseitigen’, Typographische Monatsblätter, Nov. 1959, p. 567
  • Vernissage, Sept. 1960 (‘Der Merzbau – Pantheon des Dadaismus’ and ‘Collage – Hommage a Kurt Schwitters’)
  • Marianne Prohl, ‘Kurt Schwitters. Merzdichtung und Merzbau’ (with KS bibliography), in Die zwanziger Jahre in Hannover, 1962, pp. 133-51
  • Ernst Schwitters, Schwitters (exh. cat.), London: Marlborough Gallery, 1963
  • Kate Steinitz, Kurt Schwitters. Erinnerungen aus den Jahren 1918-30, Zurich: Arche, 1963
  • Hans Richter, Dada – Kunst und Antikunst, Cologne: DuMont, 1964
  • Kate Steiner, Schwitters and America (exh. cat.), Los Angeles: UCLA Galleries, 1965
  • Kate Steinitz, Kurt Schwitters: a retrospective exhibition (exh. cat.), Dallas: Museum of Fine Art, 1965
  • 1966-75: Kate Steinitz, ‘Kurt Schwitters’, in Wieland Schmied (ed.), Wegbereiter zur modernen Kunst. 50 Jahre Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover: Fackelträger, 1966, pp. 39-43
  • Werner Schmalenbach, Kurt Schwitters, Cologne: DuMont Schauberg, 1967 (also 1984)
  • Werner Schmalenbach, Kurt Schwitters, Cologne: DuMont Schauberg, 1984
  • G.H. Hamilton, Painting and Sculpture in Europe 1880 to 1940, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967, pp. 252-3
  • Erhard Frommhold, Kunst im Widerstand, Dresden: VEB Verlag der Kunst, 1968
  • John Elderfield, Kurt Schwitters, Düsseldorf, 1987
  • Kate Steinitz, Kurt Schwitters/A portrait from life (‘with Collision , a science-fiction opera libretto in BANALITIES, by Kurt Schwitters and Kate Trauman Steinitz, and OTHER WRITINGS’), (R.B. Haas, tr.), Berkeley/Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1968 (‘based on a briefer publication in German: Kurt Schwitters/Erinnerungen aus den Jahren 1918-30, Zurich: Die Arche, 1963’) (exhibitions discussed, pp. 110-21)
  • Fred Brookes, ‘Schwitters’ Merzbarn’, Studio International, May 1969, pp. 224-7
  • Richard von Sichowsky and Hermann Tiemann (eds.), Typographie und Bibliophilie, Hamburg: Maximilian-Gesellschaft, 1971, pp. 264-5
  • Friedhelm Lach, Der Merzkünstler Kurt Schwitters, Cologne: DuMont, 1971
  • Friedrich Pfäfflin, ‘Typographie als Kunst?’, Imprimatur, Band VII, 1972, pp. 293-304
  • Text + Kritik (Munich), Oct. 1972 (numerous articles by, and about, KS
  • detailed bibliography
  • details of Merz journals)
  • Friedhelm Lach (ed.), Kurt Schwitters, Das literarische Werk, Cologne: DuMont Schauberg, 5 vols. (1973-81)
  • 1976-85: Klaus Gallwitz (ed.), Dada in Europa. Werke und Dokumente (exh. cat .: Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt a.M.), Berlin: Reimer, 1977 (esp. Hans Burkhard Schlichting, ‘Dada Hannover’, pp. 3/82-9, and p. 3/90)
  • M.E. Burkett, Kurt Schwitters, creator of Merz, Ulverston, 1979
  • Ernst Nündel, Kurt Schwitters in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten, Reinbeck, 1981
  • Kurt Schwitters in exile: The late work 1937-48 (exh. cat.), London: Marlborough Fine Art, 1981 (contributors: Stefan Themerson, Werner Schmalenbach, Anni Albers, Ernst Schwitters, Nicholas Wadley
  • bibliography , exhs, since 1936)
  • Herbert Spencer, Pioneers of modern typography, London: Lund Humphries, 1982, pp. 92-100
  • Dietmar Elger, Der Merzbau. Eine Werkmonographie, Cologne: König, 1984 (extensive bibliography
  • 2 nd ed.: 1999)
  • Lissitzky, Schwitters, Tschichold, Werkman, Zwart (sale cat.), New York: Ex Libris, 1985
  • Emigré Artists (exh. cat.), W. Hampstead, London: John Denham Gallery, 1987
  • Andreas Hüneke, ‘Zum 100. Geburtstag von Kurt Schwitters’, Bildende Kunst, June 1987, pp. 277-9
  • Klaus Werner, ‘[Schwitters] Zum 100. Geburtstag’, Bildende Kunst, Sept. 1988, pp. 393-5 (plus 2 pp. before 393)
  • Ilse Unruh, ‘Zwei Ausstellungen zur “Neuen Typographie” der zwanziger Jahre: Kurt Schwitters und Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart in Wiesbaden – Willi Baumeister in Frankfurt am Main’, Aus dem Antiquariat, 1990, 6, pp. A257-60
  • Dietrich Helms and others, Typographie kann unter Umständen Kunst sein, Kurt Schwitters Typographie und Werbegestaltung (exh. cat.
  • on cover: Kurt Schwitters, Typographie und Werbegestaltung ), Wiesbaden: Landesmuseum, 1990 (first major exh. of KS’s typographic/advertising work
  • includes Ute Brüning, ‘Die neue plastische Systemschrift’, pp. 98-107)
  • W. Schmalenbach, Masterpieces of 20th-Century Art (collection of the Nordrhein-Westfalen Museum, Düsseldorf), Munich: Prestel, 1990 (tr. John Ormond
  • original German ed., 1986), pp. 98-103
  • Volker Rattemeyer, Dietrich Helms and others, Ring ‘neue werbegestalter’. Amsterdamer Ausstellung von 1931 (additional on title page: ‘“Typographie kann unter Umständen Kunst sein”’) (exh. cat.), Wiesbaden: Museum Wiesbaden, 1990
  • 1991-5: SB, 1991, esp. p. 349
  • Cornelia Schödlbauer, ‘Kurt Schwitters’, in Literatur Lexikon (Walther Killy, ed.), Gütersloh/Munich: Bertelsmann, 1991
  • Walter Jens/Rudolf Radler (eds.), Kindlers neues Literatur Lexikon, Munich: Kindler, 1991 (descriptions of KS’s major writings
  • bibliography )
  • Dorothea Dietrich, The collages of Kurt Schwitters, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993 (extensive bibliography)
  • Gerhard Schaub, Kurt Schwitters, Bürger und Idiot, Berlin, 1993
  • Jane Collins, Collaborative Works by Kate Steinitz and Kurt Schwitters, Washington DC: National Gallery of Art, 1993
  • Horst Ohde, ‘Kurt Schwitters’, in Metzler Autoren Lexikon (Bernd Lutz, ed.), Stuttgart/Weimar: Metzler, 1994
  • Kurt Schwitters (exh. cat ., French text), Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, Nov. 1994
  • Per Kirkeby, Schwitters. Norwegian landscapes, the Zoological Gardens Lottery and more stories, Hellerup: Blondal, 1995 (Schwitters’ life in Norway, his paintings executed there)
  • Chloé Braunstein-Danos, ‘Kurt Schwitters: Enfin à Paris’ (Paris exh.), Graphis, March/April 1995, p. 10
  • 1996-9: Gwendolen Webster, Kurt Merz Schwitters, Cardiff: University of Wales, 1997
  • Charlotte Stokes, D. Dietrich (eds.), Dada in Cologne and Hanover, Hall, 1997
  • G. Schaub, Kurt Schwitters und die ‘andere’ Schweiz, Berlin: Fannei & Walz, 1998 (letters to Swiss friends including Jan and Edith Tschichold)
  • Meggs, 1998
  • Karin Orchard, Isabel Schulz, Ulrich Krempel, Kurt Schwitters. Werke und Dokumente (the Sprengel Museum collection), Hannover: Friends of the Sprengel Museum, 1998 (English and German) (biography, exhibitions 1921-97, bibliography)
  • note on the Ernst Schwitters collection and exhibition at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, in Philobiblon, March 1998, pp. 55-6
  • Kurt Schwitters 1887-1948 (CD-ROM), Hannover: Schluter, 1999
  • Steven Heller and Louise Fili, Typology, San Francisco: Chronicle, 1999, pp. 82-3
  • Dietmar Elger, Der Merzbau. Eine Werkmonographie, Cologne: König, 1999 (extensive bibliography
  • 2nd ed .)
  • No socks. Kurt Schwitters and the Merzbarn (exh. cat.), Hatton Gallery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1999
  • 2000-2004: Elizabeth Burns Gamard, Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau: The cathedral of erotic misery, New York: Princeton, 2000
  • JA, 2000, esp. pp. 156-62
  • Hans Peter Willberg, ‘Schrift und Typographie im 20. Jahrhundert’, Gutenberg Jahrbuch, 2000, pp. 257-87
  • Rudi Fuchs, Siegfried Gohr and others, Kurt Schwitters[.] I is Style (exh. cat. and trade ed. in English), Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, and Rotterdam: Nai, 2000 (9 brief writings by KS, autobiography of 1926, writings about, bibliography)
  • Susanne Meyer-Büser and Karin Orchard (eds.), Merz (In the beginning was MERZ – from Kurt Schwitters to the present day) (exh. cat .: Hannover, Düsseldorf, Munich), Ostfildern: Cantz, 2000
  • K. Orchard and Isabel Schulz (eds.), Kurt Schwitters/Catalogue Raisonné (in German and English), Hannover: Sprengel Museum, and Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz (1: 1905-22, pub. 2000
  • 2: 1923-36, pub. 2003
  • 3: 1937-48, pub. 2004)
  • Philobiblon, Sept. 2001, pp. 249-50 (Kurt and Ernst Schwitters collection and gift to Sprengel Museum, Hannover)
  • Ingried Brugger and others, Kurt Schwitters (exh. cat ., Vienna), Salzburg: Jung und Jung, 2002
  • RK, 2004
  • 2005-present: Michael Hastings (libretto), Michael Nyman (score), Man and Boy: Dada , theatre-piece performed at Almeida Theatre, London, July 2004(MN Records, issued 2005)
  • Robert Motherwell (ed.), The Dada Painters and Poets, Cambridge (MA): Harvard Univ. Press, 2005
  • Richard Hollis, Swiss Graphic Design, London: King, 2006
  • Christopher Wilk (ed.), Modernism, London: V&A, 2006 (h/b, p/b)
  • Leah Dickerman (and essays by others), Dada: Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris, Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art/DAP, 2006
  • Charles Simic, review of Dickerman, Dada, in The New York Review of Books, 10 August 2006, pp. 10-13
  • John Burnside, ‘Into No-man’s Land’ (KS’s death certificate), Tate etc. , issue 9, Spring 2007, p. 112
  • )
  • Ben Uri Gallery, Forced Journeys/Artists in Exile in Britain c.1933-45, London Jewish Museum of Art, 2009
  • .
  • (Ernst Schwitters, Hannover, exh. cat ., Hannover 2005)
  • K. Orchard, Schwitters in Norway
  • International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-45, Munich, New York, London, Paris: K.G. Saur, 1983., 1983
  • 1986-90: Kunst im Exil in Grossbritannien 1933-1945 (exh. cat.), Berlin: Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst and Verlag Frölich & Kaufmann, 1986. , 1986
  • Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie, Munich, London, New Providence: K.G. Saur 1995- (from 1997: Munich only)., 1998


  • Modern Art Gallery, London, 1944
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1948 (touring)
  • Sidney Janis, New York, 1952
  • Sturm Gallery, Berlin, 1918
  • Sturm (with Paul Klee, Johannes Molzahn), 1919
  • Société Anonyme, New York, 1920
  • Galerie Goltz, Munich, 1921
  • Brooklyn Museum, 1926 (group)
  • Anderson Galleries, New York, 1927
  • Zurich, 1929
  • New School for Social Research, New York, 1930
  • Stuttgart, 1932 (graphic work for the Hannover City Council)
  • Milan, 1933 (graphic work for the Hannover City Council)
  • Dresden, 1934
  • Haus der Deutschen Kunst, Munich, 1937 (Entartete Kunst)
  • New Burlington Galleries, London, 1938
  • Tate, London, 1938 (group: Modern German Art)
  • documenta, Kassel, 1955 (3 items)
  • Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, then Stedeldijk, Amsterdam, 1956 (also Berne, Brussels, Liège)
  • Kunstverein, Hannover, 1962
  • Marlborough Gallery, London, 1963
  • Abbot Hall, Kendal, 1964
  • UCLA Galleries, Los Angeles, 1965
  • Museum of Fine Art, Dallas, 1965
  • Städtische Galerie, Städelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt a.M., 1977/8
  • MoMA, New York, 1985 (and Tate, London, and Sprengel Museum, Hannover)
  • Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, 1986 (15 items)
  • Stadtbibliothek, Hannover, 1987
  • Landesmuseum, Wiesbaden, 1990 (ring ‘neue Werbegestalter’
  • then to Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich)
  • Landesmuseum, Wiesbaden, 1990 (first major exh. of typographic/advertising work)
  • Sprengel Museum, Hannover, 1990/91
  • Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich, 1991
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 1993 (with Kate Steinitz)
  • Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Nov. 1994-Feb. 1995 (then to Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, and Musée de Grenoble)
  • Sprengel Museum, Hannover, 1998 (Ernst Schwitters collection, then to Ishøj, Denmark)
  • Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, 2000 (then Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2000)
  • Sprengel Museum, Hannover, 2000 (then to Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 2000/01, and Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2001)
  • Wiener Kunstforum Bank, Vienna, 2002
  • Gagosian Gallery, New York, 2002
  • Centre Pompidou, Paris, Oct. 2005-2006, then to Washington, D.C., and MOMA, New York, 2006
  • Ben Uri Gallery, London Jewish Museum of Art, London, 2009 (group).


  • Kurt Schwitters Archive, Oslo
  • Kurt Schwitters Archive, Stadtbibliothek, Hannover (typographic works)
  • Kurt Schwitters Archive, Sprengel Museum, Hannover (largest collection of KS’s work
  • www.sprengel-museum.de).