Kurt Schwitters Opened by Customs 1937–8

Artwork details

Artist
Kurt Schwitters 1887–1948
Title
Opened by Customs
Zollamtlich geöffnet
Date 1937–8
Medium Paper, printed paper, oil paint and graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 331 x 253 mm
frame: 523 x 421 x 29 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1958
Reference
T00214
Not on display

Display caption

Schwitters made this collage in Norway, shortly after emigrating from Nazi Germany. Among the pieces of rubbish he incorporated are various kinds of wrapping paper and fragments of German and Norwegian newspapers. The title was chosen by the artist’s son, from a pair of German customs labels included in the work, and stamped with the place and date ‘Hannover 3.8.37’. He later explained: ‘my father wanted certain parts of his Collages read and understood, intellectually, and he often made these the actual titles of his works. Usually, they were witty, ironical or even sarcastic.'

September 2004

About this artwork