The Hjertoya Merzbau
Schwittershytta, near Molde

Between the two wars Schwitters, his wife Helma and son Ernst spent part of their summer holidays on the Norwegian island of Hjertoya, which is located near Molde on the west coast. In the summer of 1934 Schwitters rented a section of a small stone hut (the other half was a potato store) on Hjertoya, using it as a summer studio and also as accommodation. In time he began to create an interior of abstract sculptural forms similar to those of the Hannover Merzbau. During this period, he also produced one of his most successful large-scale outdoor sculptures, the MerzSaule (or pillar), around 1937.

Although exposed to the harsh fjord winters for more than 60 years, the entrance lobby and central room of the Schwittershytta are still endowed with a rich collection of fragments of collaged surfaces, and 2D assemblages; pieces from other damaged art works still litter the floor and shelves. Although the hut has been known about and also visited by art experts over the years, no detailed research or conservation survey has yet been undertaken of the art works in the Schwittershytta. The Hjertoya Merzbau contains important clues to the construction and stylistic development of the Elterwater Merz Barn, to which it is closely related.


Ernst Schwitters outside the Schwittershytta

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The Merzbauten / The Hjertoya Merzbau 1934 - 39

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