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Oskar Schlemmer

(1888—1943)


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(b Stuttgart, 4 Sept. 1888; d Baden-Baden, 13 Apr. 1943).

German painter, sculptor, stage designer, and writer on art. From 1920 to 1929 he taught at the Bauhaus, in the metalwork, sculpture, and stage-design workshops. During this time he did much work for the theatre, notably designs for the Constructivist Triadic Ballet, to music by Paul Hindemith, which was performed at the Bauhaus in 1923. After leaving the Bauhaus he taught in Breslau and Berlin, but in 1933 he was dismissed by the Nazis, who declared his work degenerate. He lived in Switzerland from 1933 to 1937 and from 1940 spent most of his time in Wuppertal. Schlemmer had a mystical temperament and his ideas on art were complex. He rejected what he considered the soullessness of pure abstraction, but he wished to submit his intuition to rational control. Some of his early work was influenced by Cubism and he showed a deep concern for pictorial structure. Characteristically his paintings represent rather mechanistic human figures, seen in strictly frontal, rear, or profile attitudes set in a mysterious space (Group of Fourteen Figures in Imaginary Architecture, 1930, Wallraf-Richartz-Mus., Cologne). His cool, streamlined forms are seen also in his sculpture.

Subjects: Performing Arts — Art.


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