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Paul Schuitema

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

The Hannover Merzbau was full of visual surprises...


The Schwitters scholar Megan Luke first identified the mysterious image which can be seen in the background of a 1930s photograph of the Merzbau. It's a poster by Paul Schuitema, based around Schuitema's own photographic self-portrait, which KS has 'merzed'.


In 1931 Schuitema incorporated his self-portrait into this poster for an “International Advertisement Printing" exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


The original Paul Schuitema self-portrait taken in 1929

Paul Schuitema (1897-1973) was a Dutch graphic artist. He also designed furniture and expositions and worked as photographer, film director, painter and teacher for publicity design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.


After the first World War, Schuitema abandoned painting and embraced early modernism: his interest in mass production and technology lead him to apply the principals of de Stijl, Constructivism and Bauhaus to advertising and print media.


He was a member of Kurt Schwitter's Ring neue Werbegestalter (Circle of New Advertising Designers), which included contemporaries Piet Zwart, László Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer and Jan Tschichold.


Here are some examples of his excellent photographs and typography:


Paul Schuitema, Self-Portrait in a mirror with Dick Elffers behind the camera, 1928

Still life 1928 - 1930

'Playing Gramophone', 1929







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