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Artists Oskar Schelmmer
Oskar Schelmmer Photo

Oskar Schelmmer

German Painter, Sculptor, Theater Designer, and Choreographer

Movements and Styles: Bauhaus, Cubism

Born: September 4, 1888 - Swabia, Germany

Died: April 13, 1943 - Baden-Baden, Germany

Oskar Schelmmer Timeline

"I believe that a more profound mysticism can be shaped using objective depiction of nature. The mysticism of painterly means"

Oskar Schlemmer Signature

Summary

Schlemmer's work in the arena of performance was both experimental and subversive. He purposely broke free from the usual constraints and rules of theater and dance, creating completely new versions of the artforms. He was one of the first artists to modernize the genres and his work formed the basis for many modern performance ideas that followed. He also explored painting and sculpture, winning international acclaim for his work and, as a result of this, he was commissioned to produce a number of high-profile murals including a series for the Folkwang Museum in Essen. During the 1920s, he was one of the Masters at the progressive Bauhaus school, working and teaching across a range of mediums. The Bauhaus revolutionized the way in which art was taught and created and Schlemmer is seen as a key figure in shaping its forward-thinking and collaborative ethos.

Key Ideas

Schlemmer was novel in bridging the gap between pure abstraction and representational art. Whilst his work was predominantly abstract, he retained elements of the physical structure of the human body in his paintings, sculptures and performances. He presented people as architectural forms, simplifying the human image and breaking it into its constituent parts.
His theater and dance work combined his interest in the representation of the human body with kinetic studies and an investigation of the relationship between performer and space and he transformed his observations into abstract geometrical and mechanical choreography and costumes. The most famous of Schlemmer's works, The Triadic Ballet (1922), is an important example of this process in action.
Schlemmer's work aligned with Bauhaus thinking on merging art and technology, man and machine. His paintings often present genderless automatons and his dancers moved in unusual and machine-like ways. In relating humans to machines, Schlemmer was at the forefront of a movement to utilize technology to seek a deeper understanding of the human condition.
Oskar Schelmmer Photo

Oskar Schlemmer was born in the south-westerly region of Swabia, Germany to Carl Leonhard Schlemmer and Mina Neuhaus; he was the youngest of six children. Following the death of both of his parents around 1900, when he was 12, Oskar was raised by his sisters.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Oskar Schelmmer
Interactive chart with Oskar Schelmmer's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Christian Landenberger
Friedrich von Keller
Adolf Hölzel
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne

Personal Contacts

Lothar Schreyer
Walter GropiusWalter Gropius

Movements

CubismCubism
Geometric AbstractionGeometric Abstraction

Influences on Artist
Oskar Schelmmer
Oskar Schelmmer
Years Worked: 1903 - 1943
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Willi Baumeister
Georg MucheGeorg Muche
Roy LichtensteinRoy Lichtenstein

Personal Contacts

Paul KleePaul Klee
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
Johannes IttenJohannes Itten

Movements

The International StyleThe International Style

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Alexandra Banister

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kate Stephenson

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Alexandra Banister
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kate Stephenson
Available from:
First published on 25 Mar 2019. Updated and modified regularly.
[Accessed ]