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Last Updated: Friday, 30 September 2005, 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK
Artist's barn opens to the public
The Merz barn
The barn in Great Langdale was used as a studio
Art lovers were given the rare chance to visit the Lake District studio used by an influential German artist throughout Saturday.

Kurt Schwitters, who made some of his pieces out of rubbish, worked in a barn in Langdale 60 years ago.

The restored building is only open once a year, and a number of visitors were expected from his native Germany.

Largely unknown in his lifetime, his work is now regarded as important in the development of modern art.

Schwitters fled to the UK from Nazi Germany in 1937 and was put in an internment camp as an "enemy alien".

Merz project

In 1945 he moved with his partner, Edith Thomas, to Ambleside.

Schwitters' first known collage was labelled Hansi and soon afterwards he started making works from scraps of rubbish, including one he called the Merz picture.

After this he referred to all his avant-garde work as Merz.

He used the barn as a studio and turned one gable wall into part of a huge Merz project - enormous combinations of sculpture and collage, using almost anything the artist could lay his hands on.

Schwitters died penniless at the age of 60 in 1948.

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