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(b Brühl, nr. Cologne, 2 Apr. 1891; d Paris, 1 Apr. 1976). German-born painter, printmaker, collagist, and sculptor who became an American citizen in 1948 and a French citizen in 1958, one of the major figures of Dada and even more so of Surrealism. He studied philosophy and psychology at Bonn University, but he became fascinated by the art of psychotics (he visited the insane as part of his studies) and neglected academic work for painting. After serving in the First World War he became with Arp (his lifelong friend) the leader of the Dada movement in Cologne. In 1920 he organized one of Dada's most famous exhibitions in the conservatory of a restaurant there: visitors entered through the lavatories, and axes were provided so they could smash the exhibits if they felt so inclined.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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