February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
Oscar Schlemmer was born in Stuttgard in 1888, since hisparents’ death around 1900 he had to learn to provide for himself from an early age.In 1903 he got an apprenticeship in a marquetry workshop. From 1905 to 1909 Oskar Schlemmer studied at the “Kunstgewerbeschule” as well as the “Akademie der Bildenden Künste” in Stuttgart, where he became Adolf Hölzel‘s master pupil in 1912.
He exhibited Herwarth Walden’s gallery “Der Sturm” in Berlin in 1919. After his marriage to Helena Tutein one year later, he was invited to Weimar by Gropius to run the sculpture department and the stage workshop at the Bauhaus. He also wanted to put his ideas about ballet into practice, and in 1922 he did so in public for the first time staging the famous Triadisches Ballett. He planned to free the stage from the trappings of tradition in order to give expression to the ‘pure idea.’ The central theme of his work was the problematic of the figure in space, and the mediator between these two was to be the dancer, stripped of his individual identity by the use of costumes and masks.Influenced by Cubism, he usually integrated this figures into geometric structures.
Until he left the Buhaus in 1929 his art can be seen as a manifesto for a robot society, both artistically, as it mocks the late-Romantic individualism of German painters such as Emil Nolde, and politically: in the wake of the Russian revolution a kind of machine communism was very alluring.
After his resignation from the Bauhaus he was given a professorship at the “Vereinigte Staatsschulen” in Berlin in 1932, but the National Socialists forced him to resign again in 1933.
During the War Oskar Schlemmer worked at the “Institut für Malstoffe” in Wuppertal together with Willi Baumeister and Georg Muche.
He led a secluded life at the end of his career and made the small series of eighteen mystical “Fensterbilder” in 1942. Oskar Schlemmer was one of the most versatile artists of the 20th century.