Kurt Schwitters' An Anna Blume and the gendered politics of printmaking in Weimar Germany
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Prominent German modernist Kurt Schwitters indulged in fragmented and nonsense aspects of art for most of his career. While Schwitters' collages and assemblages are his best-known works, what is missing from current scholarship is a comprehensive investigation of Schwitters' prints within the socio-historical context of the Weimar Republic. This thesis demonstrates how the print medium can add to our understanding of Schwitters' artistic career. The first chapter explores Schwitters as a printmaker, and how he aligned printmaking techniques with his artistic project titled "Merz." The second and third chapters address the apparent connection between Schwitters' print Komposition mit Kopf im Linksprofil, his renowned poem An Anna Blume, and numerous other works he created between 1919 and 1924. By bringing Schwitters' prints to the foreground, even his secondary works shed interesting light on modern artistic printmaking, Merz theory, and the politics of gender during the Weimar Republic. Largely due to the consequences of the First World War, this thesis argues that the graphic arts played an inevitable role in the history of Schwitters' artistic career.