Born and based for most of his life in Hanover, Schwitters began composing collages and assemblages from junk and everyday ephemera in 1919. He called these works 'Merz', a term derived from the cut-up letterhead of a bank used in one of his collages. Schwitters later used 'Merz' to refer to all his artistic activities, including painting, sculpture, typography and installation. He transformed the interior of much of his house in Hanover into a fantastic work of art - the so-called 'Merz building'. He is often seen as a Dadaist, but while Dada defined itself as anti-art, Schwitters asserted that his work was art. The artist fled Nazi Germany in 1937, living first in Norway before settling in England in 1940.