Mz 316 ische gelb (Mz 316 ische Yellow) Artist: Kurt Schwitters (German, 1887–1948)


Prints and Drawings

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).


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: 7 1/16 × 5 11/16 in. (17.9 × 14.4 cm)
sheet: 12 5/16 × 9 3/16 in. (31.2 × 23.4 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of the Estate of Katherine S. Dreier

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.

  • 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
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

abstract (general art genre), collages, drawings, popular prints


Dreier stamp on the reverse.


Inscribed in ink on mat LL: "Mz 316. / ische gelb."; inscribed in purple ink: "MARIO [ ] / 10 Via Ciro Menalte, [ ]."; "Vitto 100.7."


Signed in ink on mat LR: "K. Schwitters. 1921."

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