Construction for Noble Ladies

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Construction for Noble Ladies

Alternate Title: Konstrucktion für edle Frauen
Germany, 1919
Collages
Cardboard, wood, metal, and paint
Overall: 40 1/2 x 33 in. (102.87 x 83.82 cm) Frame: 57 × 49 × 6 in. (144.78 × 124.46 × 15.24 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Norton Simon, the Junior Arts Council, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick R. Weisman, Mr. and Mrs. Taft Schreiber, Hans de Schulthess, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Janss, and Mr. and Mrs. Gifford Phillips (M.62.22)
Currently on public view:
Ahmanson Building, floor 2 MAP IT
Ahmanson Building, floor 2

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Curator Notes

The years immediately after World War I were filled with great ferment and experimentation....
The years immediately after World War I were filled with great ferment and experimentation. In this climate, poet, artist, and photographer Kurt Schwitters developed his own unique aesthetic, which he called "Merz". The concept was based on assemblage — the combining of ordinary objects with artistic elements. For Schwitters, Merz was an attempt to achieve freedom from all social, political, and cultural fetters. Construction for Noble Ladies is one of Schwitters's large-scale reliefs known as Merzbilder (Merz pictures). It is revolutionary in its incorporation of everyday detritus — a funnel, broken wheels, a flattened metal toy train, and a ticket for shipping a bicycle by train — yet like other Merzbilder, it remains an elegantly composed picture. A traditional portrait of a "noble lady" in profile, turned on her side and facing upward, is also included. These various found materials, seemingly whimsical and casual, are transformed into formal artistic elements by their arrangement according to Cubist principles. Embedded in the composition are hints of a narrative.
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Bibliography

  • Hopkins, Henry T., ed. Illustrated Handbook of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  West Germany:  Bruder Hartmann, 1965.
  • Donahue, Kenneth. Los Angeles County Museum of Art Handbook. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977.
  • Hopkins, Henry T., ed. Illustrated Handbook of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  West Germany:  Bruder Hartmann, 1965.
  • Donahue, Kenneth. Los Angeles County Museum of Art Handbook. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977.
  • Powell III, Earl A., Robert Winter, and Stephanie Barron. The Robert O. Anderson Building. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1986.
  • Price, Lorna.  Masterpieces from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003.
  • Seldis, Henry J. "West Coast Milestone." Art in America 53, no.2 (1965): 92-109.
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