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Sitzende nach links

Sitzende nach links

watercolour and pencil on paper
18 1⁄4 x 11 7⁄8 in. (46.4 x 30.2 cm.)
Executed circa 1932
Galerie Lutz & Meyer, Stuttgart.
Galerie Dr. Werner Rusche, Cologne & Braunsfeld, by 1948.
Fritz Landwehr, Bopfingen, by whom acquired in 1950.
Fischer Fine Art, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner on 3 December 1985.
H. Hildebrandt, Oskar Schlemmer, Munich, 1952, no. 738, p. 147.
H. Hildebrandt, Sammlung Dr.h.c. Landwehr, Die Kunst und das schöne Heim, Munich, 1957, no. 9, pp. 321-322 (illustrated p. 322).
K. von Maur, Oskar Schlemmer. Œuvrekatalog der Gemälde, Aquarelle, Pastelle und Plastiken, Munich, 1979, no. A 513, pp. 327-328 (illustrated p. 328).
A. Grigoteit, Ein Jahrhundert, One Century, Frankfurt, 2001, pp. 70-71 (illustrated p. 71).
A. Grigoteit & F. Hütte, Man in the Middle, Frankfurt, 2002, p. 235 (illustrated).
Cologne, Galerie Dr. Werner Rusche, Oskar Schlemmer - Willi Baumeister, April - May 1948, no. 4.

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Lot Essay

Oskar Schlemmer was among the first and most prominent masters at the Staatliches Bauhaus, Germany’s premier institute for art. There he made significant contributions to the numerous departments: sculpture, mural painting, metal work, and life drawing, in turn developing his truly unique and instantly recognisable style investigating the relationships between the human body and its surrounding space. Following the Bauhaus’s move to Dessau in 1935, Schlemmer left the interwar art institution to take up a professorship at the Silesian Art Academy in Breslau in 1929. He stayed in Breslau for three years, a period which is now recognised as the most productive and intense in the artist's life. Schlemmer had reached the zenith of his career, participating at almost all of the major exhibitions in Germany and Europe, being commissioned to produce several wall decorations and stage sets, including the mural cycle for the Folkwang Museum in Essen, and the scenes for Schönberg's opera Die glückliche Hand at the Kroll-Oper in Berlin.

Executed circa 1932, the same year as Geländerszene, Bauhaustreppe, and Brustbild nach links in Hell-Dunkel-Streifen, three works now considered masterpieces within the artists œuvre, the present work is perhaps one of the last works Schlemmer did before his career fell victim to the cultural politics of Germany’s National Socialism of the 1930s. With the closure of the Breslau Academy in April of that year, Schlemmer was afforded even more time to work on his new series of works, with the freedom to remain there and work solely on painting until the autumn. In a letter to his contemporary Willi Baumeister, Schlemmer laments the loss of his Breslau sanctuary: ‘Last day in Breslau, in the only nice studio, which I leave very reluctantly. I live and cook in it too. Lovely view over the Dominsel and the greenery, and quiet in the Academy’ (Oskar Schlemmer to Willi Baumeister, 29th September 1932; Oskar Schlemmer-Archiv, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart).

Sitzende nach links illustrates a side profile portrait of a woman sitting within hazy-blue interior. The work is overtly expressive and introspective at once. Looking down, the sitter of Sitzende nach links emanates a sense of contemplation and introspection, heightened by the blue interior, thus enabling the viewer to gain a palpable sense of Schlemmer’s introspection and lamentation following the closure of both his artistic sanctuaries: The Bauhaus and Silesian Art Academy, as a result of the increasing tumultuous socio-political climate of 1930s Germany.

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