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Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), artist, poet, musician, and typographer, attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hannover and the Kunstakademie Dresden. At the stimulus of the Berlin Dadaists and Hans Arp, a pioneer of collage, Schwitters left behind his academic style and began making assemblages from scraps of refuge, including one he called the Merz picture. After a critically acclaimed Sturm exhibition of his new style in 1919, Schwitters referred to all his work as Merz.
In 1923, the artist founded the magazine Merz and began constructing the Merzbau, an eight-room "Environment" at his Hanover home, completed in 1936. At the time of his death in the English Lake District, Schwitters had completed one wall of the Merz barn, a new Merzbau sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art and now found in Newcastle University.