Oskar Schlemmer
Kopf mit Tasse, 1923

  • Oil, gloss paint on canvas, on wallboard
  • 71 x 52 x 3 cm
  • Acquired in 1982

Oskar Schlemmer’s Kopf mit Tasse [Head with Cup], was produced in his period as a master at the Bauhaus, 1921–29, as head of the wall painting, stone and timber sculpture workshops, and the theatre workshop. Schlemmer’s constant devotion to dance as well as his response to Heinrich von Kleist’s text ‘Über das Marionettentheater’ led 1922 to first and best known staging of the ‘Triadic Ballet’, in which the dancers’ movements are dictated by the stereometric costumes. Schlemmer, a student of Adolf Hölzel in Stuttgart around 1910, saw the human being as part of an all-encompassing reference system consisting of intellect, nature and soul. Via the development of his ‘differentiating human’, an artificial figure shortened in a stereotyped manner, Schlemmer arrived at the ideal representation of the human figure. In Schlemmer’s small oil picture Kopf mit Tasse, the figure’s upper body is constructed from three oval forms that are separated from the viewer by a narrow table. They are like the loosely connected parts of a jointed wooden puppet. The areas of shadow on the arms give this two-dimensional figure a suggestion of three-dimensionality.

Oskar Schlemmer

* 1888 Stuttgart, D
† 1943 Baden-Baden, D
Oskar Schlemmer
Wandfries im Haus Mendelsohn Berlin, Wandbildentwurf, 1930
Pastel on cardboard

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