Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Costume Designer Oskar Schlemmer - Posted by Julie Davenport

Oskar Schlemmer German, 1888-1943

Oskar Schlemmer German, 1888-1943
(b Stuttgart, 4 Sept 1888; d Baden-Baden, 13 April 1943).

German painter, sculptor, choreographer and stage designer. After the death of his parents he lived with his sister at Göppingen, and in Stuttgart from 1903 to 1905 he served an apprenticeship at a workshop specializing in marquetry while attending classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule. He continued his studies on a bursary from 1906 to 1911 at the Kunstakademie in Stuttgart under the plein-air landscape painters Christian Landenberger (1862–1927) and Friedrich von Keller (1840–1914). In 1911–12 he lived in Berlin, where he produced paintings such as Hunting Lodge, Grunewald (1911; Stuttgart, Staatsgal.) and Self-portrait (1912; Stuttgart, Staatsgal.) under the influence of Cubism. After returning to Stuttgart, Schlemmer studied under Adolf Hölzel, whose theory of pictorial methods made him a pioneer of abstract art and who gathered around him an international circle of students that included Willi Baumeister and the Swiss artists Otto Meyer-Amden and Johannes Itten, with whom Schlemmer became friends.

The Bauhaus years

In 1919 Schlemmer turned to the art of sculpture and had an exhibit of his work at the Gallery Der Sturm in Berlin. After his marriage to Helena Tutein in 1920, Schlemmer was invited to Weimar by Walter Gropius to run the mural-painting and sculpture departments at the Bauhaus School before heading up the theater workshop in 1923. His complex ideas were influential, making him one of the most important teachers working at the school at that time. However, with the rise of the Nazis at the end of the 1920s, Schlemmer's work was seen as degenerate and he was dismissed from his post in 1929.

Schlemmer became internationally known with the première of his 'Triadisches Ballett' in Stuttgart in 1922. His work for the Bauhaus and his preoccupation with the theatre are an important factor in his work, which deals mainly with the problematic of the figure in space. People, typically a stylised female figure, continued to be the predominant subject in his painting. After using Cubism as a springboard for his structural studies, Schlemmer's work became intrigued with the possibilities of figures and their relationship to the space around them, for example 'Egocentric Space Lines' (1924). Schlemmer's characteristic forms can be seen in his sculptures as well as his paintings. Yet he also turned his attention to stage design, first getting involved with this in 1929, executing settings for the opera 'Nightingale' and the ballet 'Renard' by Igor Stravinsky.



Oskar Schlemmer
First visit to Weimar, costume design for his first stage work, "Das Triadische Ballet" which had its premiere in Stuttgart in 1922.

Master at the Bauhaus. Head of Murals, wood and sculpture and the stage workshop.

Called the the Bauhaus in Sessau by Walter Gropius. Head of the Experimental Stage, the first series of Bauhaus Books appear. Vol No 4 "Die Bühne im Bauhaus" - jacket design and contributions from Schlemmer.

Tour of Germany ans Switzerland with the Bauhaus stage.

Professor at the Breslau Academy, Head of the stage class "Mensch and Raum".

The 1930s were difficult years for Schlemmer and his family. In 1933 he was dismissed from his teaching position at Breslau by the Nazis, who considered his art degenerate. The Schlemmers then moved to Eichberg near the Swiss border. Unable to show or sell his work, Schlemmer's painting took on a decidedly mystical tone. The former balance that Schlemmer achieved between the rounded conical forms of his figures and their placement on a two-dimensional surface gave way to very flat, almost transparent, figures bathed in a mystical light. In 1937 Schlemmer moved to Sehringen before his pictures were displayed at the National Socialist exhibition of "Degenerate Art."

Schlemmer's last years were spent working at a paint factory owned by Kurt Herbert in Wuppertal. The factory offered Schlemmer the opportunity to paint without the fear of persecution. His last series, the so called "Window Pictures," were very small pictures painted while looking out the window of his house and observing neighbors engaged in their domestic tasks.

During the summer of 1942 Schlemmer fell ill. After clinical treatments at numerous hospitals Oskar Schlemmer died in Baden-Baden in April 1943.


1 comment:

  1. theres a great video in library on the triadic ballet worth watching very clever for the time with avant garde music