Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943)
Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943)

Im Holzhaus

Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943)
Im Holzhaus
signed with the monogram and inscribed 'OS 2756' (lower right)
oil and pencil on paper
26 x 19¾ in. (66 x 50.1 cm.)
Executed on 27 May 1936
Galerie Otto Stangl, Munich.
Acquired by the family of the present owner in March 1952.
H. Hildebrandt, Oskar Schlemmer, Munich, 1952, no. 303 (illustrated).
K. von Maur, Oskar Schlemmer, Oeuvrekatalog der Gemälde, Aquarelle, Pastelle und Plastiken, Munich, 1979, no. G348 (illustrated p. 127).
V & M. Langen, Sammlung Viktor u. Marianne Langen. Kunst des 20ten Jahrhunderts, vol. I, Ascona, 1986 (illustrated p. 120).
Exh. cat., Oskar Schlemmer, Madrid, 1997, no. G348, p. 153 (illustrated p. 135).
Munich, Galerie Günther Franke, Oskar Schlemmer Gedächtnisausstellung, 1947, no. 29.
Cologne, Kunsthandel Dr Werner Rusche, Oskar Schlemmer - Willi Baumeister, 1948, no. 3.
Dusseldorf, Kunsthalle, Düsseldorfer Kaufleute sammeln moderne Kunst, 1956, no. 203 (illustrated pl. 71; dated '1927').
Dusseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle und Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Kunst des 20ten Jahrunderts aus rheinisch-westfälischem Privatbesitz, 1967, no. 316 (illustrated p. 59; dated '1927').

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Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas
Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas

Lot Essay

At the beginning of 1936, Oskar Schlemmer, who had been dismissed from his teaching post in Berlin by the Nazis in 1933 and had recently lost his close friend and confidant Oskar Meyer, had not painted in many months. Finding refuge from persecution in a small village in southern Baden he attempted there to make a living by farming and sheep raising.

Schlemmer described these works at the time as a ‘type of painting, new and bursting with fresh possibilities’ in which he was seeking to establish a renewed balance between naturalism and abstraction.' (quoted in Oskar Schlemmer exh. cat. Madrid. 1999, p. 183). Another strong characteristic of these works is the presence of a central figure, seen from the back and turned away from the viewer in a way intended to embody a mood reflective not only of Schlemmer’s own mental state during this difficult period, but also the state of the world. Only ten days before completing this painting Schlemmer had written to himself in his diary, ‘Create heroic loneliness…this too is an image of the times!’ (17 May 1936, quoted in Karin von Maur, Oskar Schlemmer, Monographie und Oeuvrekatalog, vol I, Munich, 1978, p. 276).

In his diary entry for the day prior to making this painting, Schlemmer also noted how his head was ‘swimming’ with ideas for a new project of building a wooden studio in which to paint and as a means of creating something positive out of the dark times in which he found himself. Partially an idealized wooden space and partially evocative image of personal isolation and loneliness, Im Holzhaus is a classic work that embodies Schlemmer’s enduring principles of creating a balance between abstraction, proportion, and law on the one hand and nature, feeling and idea on the other.’ (Oskar Schlemmer, exh.-cat. ‘Der schöne Mensch in der Neuen Kunst', Städtische Ausstellungsgebäude, Darmstadt, 1929, p. 54.) These were elements, Schlemmer, believed, that were essential, if the world was ‘to prevent (itself) being engulfed in chaos’ (‘Der Folkwang Zyklus Malerei um 1930’ quoted in Oskar Schlemmer, exh. cat., Stuttgart, 1993-94, p. 209).

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