Prints and Drawings
Artist: Kurt Schwitters, German, 1887–1948

Mz 316 ische gelb (Mz 316 ische Yellow)


Collage of beige and brown wove papers (some with black, red, and yellow letterpress printing), newspaper fragments, ticket stubs, blue papers with gold printing, yellow- and pink-painted white wove papers, white wove paper with pink pattern printing, red wove papers, silver foil, and purple fabric with white polka dots, inset in off-white cardstock windowmat

image: 17.9 × 14.4 cm (7 1/16 × 5 11/16 in.)
sheet: 31.2 × 23.4 cm (12 5/16 × 9 3/16 in.)
Gift of the Estate of Katherine S. Dreier
In 1918, Kurt Schwitters met Hans Arp in Berlin and began making collages and assemblages with a Dada flavor. The following year Schwitters began to title these works “Merz”: a word fragment from one of his early creations in this new mode. Merz 316. Ische Gelb is a celebration of the remarkable variety of discarded papers and other daily human leftovers that Schwitters collected: theater and streetcar ticket stubs, silver foil, a snippet of purple fabric with white polka dots, and a wide array of cut or torn paper fragments–many a coated “yellowish” variety, but others painted or printed various bright and muted tones. As is true of nearly all of Schwitters’s collages, the title offers a clue as to how to begin to read the work. Like the term “Merz,” “Ische” is a word fragment, which corresponds to the English “-ly” or “-ish”—meaningless in itself but acquiring playful associations when used as a prefix for “Gelb” (the German word for yellow).
Made in Germany
20th century
Works on Paper - Collages

Ruth L. Bohan et al., The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, ed. Jennifer Gross, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 182, ill.

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.