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Modern and Contemporary Art
Artist: Kurt Schwitters, German, active in Norway and England, 1887–1948
Merzbild mit Regenbogen (Merz Picture With Rainbow)
Mixed media on plywood
156.5 x 121.3 x 26.7 cm (61 5/8 x 47 3/4 x 10 1/2 in.)
Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection
Kurt Schwitters coined the term Merz in 1919 to describe his assemblages of urban debris and everyday materials. He derived the title of his invention from the German word for commerce, kommerz. In Merzbild mit Regenbogen, raw wood and a wheel spoke project from a canvas painted with a rainbow, embodying Schwitters’s belief in the artistic viability of both materials designed to be of aesthetic interest and those that are not. He created deliberate confusion between painted shadows and those cast by three-dimensional objects, prompting viewers to question boundaries between the illusionistic and the real.
William Rubin, Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1968), ill.
“Acquisitions, July 1, 2006June 30, 2007,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007): 240.
Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 255, 402, pl. 242.
Cathleen Chaffee, Eye on a Century: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 4649, 175, no. 13.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.