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The Proposal takes its title from the nineteenth century lithographic illustration over which Schwitters pasted sections of a magazine advertisement. The high colour of the advertisement is set against the monochrome of the print. A conflict between a brash contemporary society and nineteenth-century restraint seems to be suggested. In other similar works Schwitters makes it clear that the contemporary vision being referred to is modern America. Knowing that Schwitters was an exile in wartime London when he conceived this image of prosperity makes it all the more poignant.

August 2004