German painter, sculptor, typographer and writer. Born in Hanover. Studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Hanover 1908-9 and at Dresden Academy 1909-14. Influenced by Expressionism and Cubism 1917-18. In 1918 created his own form of Dada in Hanover called 'Merz', using rubbish materials such as labels, bus tickets and bits of broken wood in his collages and constructions. Friendship with Arp, Hausmann and van Doesburg. Published the first edition of Anna Blume (a collection of poems and prose pieces) in 1919 and the magazine Merz 1923-32. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin, 1920. Began in 1923 to build fantastic Merz constructions in his house in Hanover (the first 'Merzbau'). Spent the summers in Norway from 1931 and emigrated in 1937 to Lysaker near Oslo. Fled to England in 1940, spent seventeen months in internment camps, then lived 1941-5 in London. Moved in 1945 to Ambleside in the Lake District. In the last months of his life, he began a further Merz construction in an old barn at Langdale. Died at Kendal.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.676