The J. Paul Getty Museum

Kurt Schwitters

Object Details


Kurt Schwitters


El Lazar Lissitzky (Russian, 1890 - 1941)




about 1924 - 1925


Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



11.1 × 10 cm (4 3/8 × 3 15/16 in.)

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Object Description

This photograph portrays Kurt Schwitters, an artist who influenced El Lissitzky to come to Hanover, Germany, in the fall of 1922. Two pictures of Schwitters are superimposed over a poster promoting his journal Merz and an image of the July 1924 issue of Merz on which Lissitzky collaborated. The portrait on the left shows an animated orator, eyes ablaze and mouth open, while the image on the right shows a more subdued Schwitters with eyes half closed and mouth obscured in the multiple exposure. At the upper edge, the title of his journal appears to emerge symbolically from Schwitters's mind.

- 1941

Estate of El Lazar Lissitzky, Russian, 1890 - 1941, in the artist's collection; by inheritance to his wife, Sophie Lissitzky-Kuppers, 1941.

1941 - 1978

Sophie Lissitzky-Kuppers, by inheritance to her son, Jen Lissitzky, 1978.

1978 - 1991

Mr. Jen Lissitzky, sold to Houk Friedman Gallery, 1991.

1991 - 1995

Houk Friedman Gallery, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995.

El Lissitzky: The Experience of Totality (February 14, 2014 to January 25, 2015)
  • Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, February 14 to June 8, 2014
  • Museo Picasso Málaga, June 23 to September 24, 2014
  • Fundació CatalunyaCaixa - La Pedrera (Barcelona), October 20, 2014 to January 25, 2015
MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture (February 20, 2016 to June 12, 2016)
  • Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver), February 20 to June 12, 2016

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Photographs (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999), p. 85.

Rubio, Oliva Maria. El Lissitzky. La Experiencia de la Totalidad (Madrid: La Fabrica, 2014), p. 67.