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Collection

An image of Kleine DADA soirée by Kurt Schwitters, Theo van Doesburg

Kurt Schwitters

(Germany 20 Jun 1887 – 08 Jan 1948)

Theo van Doesburg

(Netherlands 30 Aug 1883 – 07 Mar 1931)

Title
Kleine DADA soirée
Other titles:
Small Dada evening
Alternative title:
DADAsofie
Year
1923
Media category
Print
Materials used
colour lithograph
Dimensions

29.8 x 29.8 cm image/sheet

Signature & date
Signed and dated c. image / sheet [inscribed on plate] "...1923...Théo van Doesburg...Kurt Schwitters...".
Credit
Purchased 1984
Accession number
268.1984
Copyright
© Kurt Schwitters & Theo van Doesburg/Bild-Kunst. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Location
Not on display
Further information

Collective projects and collaborations characterised the second wave of modernism in Europe. Dada, surrealism, constructivism and other international styles emphasised and exploited the creative affinity and social conscience of artists. In this humorous poster Kurt Schwitters, the famed pioneer of collage, teamed with the Dutch-born Theo Doesburg to advertise a Dada performance, and turn typography on its head. The resulting image is at once striking, confusing, intriguing and attractive. Despite its strategies of inversion and miscalculation, the obligation of conveying useful information to the viewer has been fulfilled. In struggling to decipher the text one is brought closer to the poster, both physically and in terms of its content. This perceptual strategy is a hallmark of Dada, a move-ment with close links to cabaret, theatre and performance. 'Kleine DADA Soirée' would not look out of place in a contemporary cultural context; indeed the Dadaist heritage of artists such as Schwitters resurfaces in graphic conventions from pop art to punk rock.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.

Bibliography (5)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986. cat.no. 216

Nicholas Draffin, Prints in Germany 1880-1940, Sydney South, 1989, 7-8. no catalogue numbers

Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers

Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 151 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, 90 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (4)

The edge of the world, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Jul 1985–25 Aug 1985

Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 1986–23 Nov 1986

Prints in Germany 1880-1940, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Oct 1989–07 Jan 1990

Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jul 1994–25 Sep 1994