Lot 139
  • 139

Kurt Schwitters

Estimate
120,000 - 180,000 USD
Sold
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Description

  • Kurt Schwitters
  • Mz 330. ine Dresd.
  • Signed K. Schwitters., dated 1921. and titled Mz 330. ine Dresd. (on the artist's mount)
  • Collage on paper mounted on card
  • Image: 7 by 5 5/8 in.; 17.9 by 14.3 cm
  • Mount: 8 5/8 by 6 3/4 in.; 22 by 17.3 cm

Provenance

Rudolf Bauer, Berlin (acquired directly from the artist in 1922)
Roman Norbert Ketterer, Stuttgart
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York (acquired by 1957)
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above in February 1959)
Thence by descent

Exhibited

New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, 75 Collages by Schwitters, 1959, no. 12
New York, Galerie Chalette, Kurt Schwitters, 1963, no. 20

Literature

Werner Schmalenbach, Kurt Schwitters, Cologne, 1967, illustrated pl. 53
Karin Orchard & Isabel Schulz, Kurt Schwitters, Catalogue raisonné, 1905-1922, vol. I, Hannover, 2000, no. 889, illustrated p. 418

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1921, Mz 330. ine Dresd. is an exquisite example of Schwitters’ celebrated Merz series. In June 1919, at Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin, Schwitters first coined the title Merz, from the word kommerz or "commerce," later explaining: "Merz was the name I gave to a new process whose principle was the use of any material. The second syllable of the word Kommerz, it first appeared in Merzbild, a painting where—alongside various abstract forms born of the collage process—one could make out the letters Merz on a small square of paper cut and pasted from an advertisement for the Kommerz-und Privatbank. For my first exhibition of these assemblages in the Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin, I was looking for a term to designate this new genre; I could not classify my paintings under any of the traditional labels such as Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism and so on. I would name all of my pictures which related to this first example Merzbilder" (as quoted in Friedhelm Lach, Kurt Schwitters. Das literarische Werk, vol. V, Cologne, 1973-81, p. 252).

The present work was executed in Dresden, where the artist had traveled for a poetry recital, stopping in Erfurt, Weimar and Leipzig along the way. Mz 330. ine Dresd. is exceptional for its wonderfully nuanced palette, including a shimmering golden sheen visible which dazzles under close inspection, as well as for its use of a collage element from the famous Suchard chocolate factory—among the most readily recognizable advertisement elements that Schwitters would incorporate into his Merz output. The piece is further remarkable for its provenance, acquired by fellow Der Sturm artist Rudolf Bauer directly from Schwitters in 1922, and later sold by the prestigious Sidney Janis Gallery in New York.

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