German artist Kurt Schwitters began constructing the Merzbau, a combination of collage, sculpture, and architecture, in a corner of his studio in Hannover, Germany in 1920. Also called the Cathedral of Erotic Misery, this was Schwitters's private world. It eventually took over his entire living quarters, the apartment above, and part of the yard, and was divided into rooms-the Biedermeier Room, the de Stijl Room, the Goethe Cave, the Mondrian Cave, and the Mies Cave, among others. It was destroyed during an Allied bombing raid in 1943.
Although the Merzbau is of essential importance in understanding the early Modern Movement, this is the first in-depth study in English of this structure. Elizabeth Burns Gamard discusses its physical evolution and its significance within the artist's oeuvre. She also investigates its larger relation to German Expressionism and romanticism and to critical thought of the time. This book offers an in-depth analysis of a single structure through original documents, drawings, and critical examination of the design process.