Heavy Relief (1945) by Kurt Schwitters

Heavy Relief - Kurt Schwitters - 1945

Artwork Information

TitleHeavy Relief
ArtistKurt Schwitters
Dimensions20 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. (52 x 45 cm)
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About Heavy Relief

Kurt Schwitters created Heavy Relief in 1945 while living in exile in England. This relief sculpture is considered one of the largest and finest examples of Schwitters’ late work. Heavy Relief measures approximately four feet high by three feet wide and is made of various materials, including wood, metal and plastic.

Schwitters was known for collecting objects from everyday life to integrate into his artwork. Heavy Relief features found objects such as broken glass, wire netting, nails and screws that are arranged together to create a 3D collage. The result is a dynamic sculpture that plays with light and shadow.

Schwitters’ creativity continued despite difficult circumstances during WWII when his sculptural environment called Merzbau located in his Hanover home was destroyed. He began to collect garbage from the streets for use in his art during this period. Schwitters was involved both in Dadaism and Constructivism movements and is known for his Merz and Merzbau works.

Heavy Relief marks a highpoint of Schwitters’ creativity during a challenging time. This unique sculpture shows how he was able to take discarded items from everyday life, elevate them as artful pieces, and make something new with them through creative reuse.

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