Kurt Schwitters was a German artist who fled the Nazi regime in 1940 and ultimately settled in Britain. A hero of the European avant-garde who flirted with dada and surrealism, he spent the last seven years of his life living and working in the Lake District; the art that he produced during this period is the focus of Tate Britain’s Schwitters in Britain exhibition.
The London gallery describes this unique showcase as “the first major exhibition to examine the late work” of the artist. Following a successful run that started in January, the exhibition concludes on May 12th – so fans of modern art have a limited time left to enjoy Britain’s most significant Schwitters show yet.
Curators say that the exhibition “includes over 150 collages, assemblages and sculptures” – many of which have not been seen publicly in this country for over 30 years.
Kurt Schwitters was born in Hannover in 1887. He dabbled in painting, graphic design and sculpture, but it is his collages for which he is best known – the so called ‘Merz’ pictures, which make use of “all conceivable materials” to artistic effect. In the late 1930s, his increasingly experimental work was condemned by the Nazi government and he spent the rest of his life in exile.
Spending his final years in Ambleside, Schwitters has enjoyed a towering posthumous reputation and his influence can be traced in major British artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton.
After the London show finishes in May, the exhibition is due to tour to the Sprengel Museum in Hannover. Visitors to the capital, therefore, are advised to catch this one while they can. The Tate Britain is easily accessible from most London hotels and other landmarks; located in Millbank, it is served by the Pimlico, Vauxhall and Westminster tube stops. Additionally, the Tate Boat runs between Tate Britain and Tate Modern in Bankside every 40 minutes.