Mz 231. Miss Blanche (1923) by Kurt Schwitters

Mz 231. Miss Blanche - Kurt Schwitters - 1923

Artwork Information

TitleMz 231. Miss Blanche
ArtistKurt Schwitters
Dimensions15.9 x 12.7 cm
Art MovementDada
Current LocationCollection Dr. Werner Schmalenbach, Dusseldorf

About Mz 231. Miss Blanche

The artwork titled “Mz 231. Miss Blanche” was created by artist Kurt Schwitters in 1923. It is a collage, a medium which Schwitters was particularly renowned for, measuring 15.9 x 12.7 cm. Classified as an abstract piece and rooted in the Dada art movement, this artwork is a part of the collection of Dr. Werner Schmalenbach in Dusseldorf.

The artwork is a complex assemblage of found paper materials, variably colored but primarily in shades of brown and beige. These materials are meticulously overlaid and juxtaposed to create a dynamic composition. Central to the collage is a fragment of an advertisement for “Miss Blanche Egyptian Cigarettes,” which gives the piece its title. The ad features the text “ARE OBTAINABLE,” along with details on the quality and price of the product, evoking the consumer culture of the era.

Other notable pieces of text and imagery include references to “Avello’s Freres,” which suggests a link to the Caravelles tobacco brand, ticket stubs or transit passes with serial numbers, and additional textual elements in various fonts and languages. The presence of a small, blue ornate design featuring pyramids and the Nile indicates a recurring theme of Egyptian imagery, perhaps speaking to the interconnectedness of global commerce or the exoticism that was fashionable at the time.

Schwitters’ methodology is apparent in the careful placement of each element, creating a richly textured, multi-layered work that conveys rhythm and harmony despite the apparent randomness of the components. This approach is reflective of the Dada movement’s embrace of the absurd and a rejection of traditional aesthetic norms. Notably, the artwork also contains handwritten elements, possibly by the artist himself, further personalizing the piece and infusing it with an element of intentional artistic intervention amidst the found objects.

Overall, “Mz 231. Miss Blanche” is a testament to Schwitters’ skill in transforming ordinary ephemera into a composition that transcends its origins and invites contemplation on materiality, modernity, and the nature of art itself.

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