Mz 129 rot oben [Mz 129 Red on top]
© DACS 2006

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Mz 129 rot oben [Mz 129 Red on top] 1920
Schwitters’ art underwent a radical change around 1917-18 as he moved from painting traditional landscapes and figures to making collages. Spurred on by the First World War, he saw this as a rebellion against the old order. This is one of Schwitters’ ‘Merz’ pictures, in which the artist uses a range of different materials to create a collage. From tickets and newspapers to fabric and playing cards, anything flat enough to be stuck down was used. The ‘red on top’ specified in the title of the collage refers to the small red triangular patch in the top left corner - some of the papers have faded in colour. This is one of the first works Schwitters ever sold. It was purchased by the poet Paul Eluard in 1921 and later belonged to the Surrealist artist and collector Roland Penrose.

Glossary Open


An image constructed from found materials, such as photographs, paper or fabric, glued to a surface, sometimes with additional painted or drawn elements. It is an art form particularly associated with Dada and Surrealism.


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Collage, Surrealism


  • Acc. No. GMA 4764
  • Medium Collage on paper
  • Size 10.60 x 8.30 cm (including mount: 27.90 x 20.60 cm)
  • Credit Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh: presented by John Golding in memory of Roland Penrose 2005