German Dada artist, poet, photographer and polemicist. Born in Vienna, son of an academic painter who gave him lessons in painting. Moved in 1900 to Berlin, wrote articles on painting for Der Sturm in 1907 and later was influenced by the Cubists. Co-founder with Huelsenbeck, Baader, Heartfield and Grosz of the Berlin Dada movement 1917; made phonetic poems and in 1918 created photomontage. Friendship with Schwitters, Arp, Moholy-Nagy. Abandoned painting in 1923 and in 1927 invented the optophone, an apparatus which turned kaleidoscopic forms into music; also became greatly interested in photography and made photograms, rayograms and pictograms. Left Germany in 1933 and after visiting Paris, Spain, Zurich and Prague, settled in 1938 in France; lived from 1944 at Limoges. Corresponded with Schwitters in 1946 and together evolved a project for a revue called Pin. First one-man exhibition at the Galleria del Grattacielo Pagani, Milan, 1963. Died in Limoges.
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, pp.354-5