Creator: Schwitters, Kurt, 1887-1948
Date: Schwitters began working on Merzbau in about 1923, and continued his work until 1937 when he emigrated to Lysaker, near Oslo, the same year that a number of his works were included in the Entartete Kunst exhibition.
Date destroyed or lost: 1943
Former repository :Collection of Kurt Schwitters
Circumstances of destruction or loss: Destroyed in a British air raid in October 1943.
Notes: Merzbau was a constructed environment that comprised eight rooms in Schwitter’s house at 5 Waldhausenstrasse in Hannover. Schwitters referred to the central column of the construction as the The Cathedral of Erotic Misery; and in its niches a variety of personal artifacts were enshrined including hair, clothing, fingernail clippings, and a bottle of his own urine holding artificial flowers. The vaious compartments were given names such as “the 10% War Invalid” “Ruhr District” “Goethe’s Grotto” and “Sex-Murders Cavern.” Over the course of 14 years Schwitters continuously added to and modified the Merzbau creating “caves” and “grottos” dedicated to friends and fellow artists. A later Merzbau creation, the Haus am Bakken, that Schwitters began in Lysaker, Norway, was destroyed by fire in 1951.