What are some influences on Kurt Schwitters?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Kurt Schwitters was heavily influenced by a number of post-World War I avant-garde movements, including the Berlin Dadaists, the Cubists, and the German Expressionists. He also admired the work of the Dutch De Stijl movement, and was a collaborator with Theo van Doesburg, an artist and architect within that school. His literary works, especially his poetry, were heavily influenced by August Stramm. Overall, however, Schwitters was an original artist who was more interested in defying conventions than allowing himself to be influenced by them. His work, like the Dadaists with whom he was often grouped, often bordered on the absurd, as his most famous poem, "An Anna Blume," attests:

Prize question:
1. eve Blossom is red.
2. eve Blossom has wheels.
3. what colour are the wheels?
Blue is the colour of your yellow hair,
Red is the whirl of your green wheels,
Thou simple maiden in everyday dress,
Thou small green animal,
I love thine!

Schwitters was also interested in sound poetry, another interest he had in common with Dadaists like Tristen Tzara. Made up of seemingly random grunts, yelps, and whistles, the very absurdity of sound poetry suggested Schwitters's contempt for traditional forms.


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