The Kurt Schwitters Archive and Catalogue raisonné

Sprengel Museum HannoverSprengel Museum Hannover
The Kurt Schwitters Archive was established at the Sprengel Museum Hannover in 1994 and contains the most comprehensive documentation of his life and work. Since 2008 it has housed the artist’s entire written oeuvre: his correspondence (primarily from 1937 onwards) and approximately 600 original manuscripts of his literary works. The Kurt Schwitters catalogue raisonné, detailing Kurt Schwitters’ artistic oeuvre, was compiled at the Archive by Karin Orchard and Isabel Schulz. The museum’s 112 original works by Kurt Schwitters and the 1,012 works belonging to the Kurt and Ernst Schwitters Foundation together comprise the most complete collection of his works in the world.

Kurt Schwitters (born in Hanover in 1887 – died in Kendal, UK in 1948) was one of the most individual and multi-facetted artists during the first half of the 20th century. His creative brilliance manifested itself in a number of artistic media: first and foremost, assemblage and collage, as well as abstract and representational painting, drawings, bas relief and sculpture, and in the applied arts, typography, architecture, the art of public speaking and performance. He was also active along literary lines, realising verse, theatre pieces, prose, art critiques, and even writing music. His development and interests defy categorisation; his work was devoted to his very individual concept, “Merz”, which negates borders between types of art, between the deep and meaningful and the utterly banal, between art and life. “Merz establishes relationships, ideally, between all things in this world.”

Since its establishment in 1994, the Kurt Schwitters Archive at the Sprengel Museum Hannover has been continually active on an international level as a place of research on Kurt Schwitters and his circle. It is open to both art historians and the general public. The catalogue raisonné, compiled from 2000 until 2006 and continually updated in the Archive’s database since then, consists of a comprehensive collection of images which enables you to search the archive’s database as well as a special library containing related literature comprising 3,900 titles, nearly all of which are readily available. It also provides information on over 1,300 solo and group exhibitions. Moreover, the documents, correspondence and typescripts contained in the Archive constitute an ideal source of research into the life and work of Kurt Schwitters.
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