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German Expressionism

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THE COLLECTION

Utopia-Verlag, Weimar

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From the portfolio

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  • Oskar Schlemmer. Cover (Mappenumschlag) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (1923)
    Cover (Mappenumschlag) from Play...
    (1923)
    Oskar Schlemmer. Cover (Mappenumschlag) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (1923)
  • Oskar Schlemmer. Title page (Titelblatt)  from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (1923)
    Title page (Titelblatt) from Play...
    (1923)
    Oskar Schlemmer. Title page (Titelblatt)  from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (1923)
  • Oskar Schlemmer. Three Vertical Profiles (Drei senkrechte Profile) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Three Vertical Profiles (Drei senkrechte...
    (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Oskar Schlemmer. Three Vertical Profiles (Drei senkrechte Profile) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
  • Oskar Schlemmer. Three Profiles between the Vertical and the Diagonal (Drei Profile zwischen der Senkrechten und der Diagonalen) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Three Profiles between the Vertical and...
    (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Oskar Schlemmer. Three Profiles between the Vertical and the Diagonal (Drei Profile zwischen der Senkrechten und der Diagonalen) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
  • Oskar Schlemmer. Three Profiles, the One in the Middle Vertical (Drei Profile, das mittlere senkrecht) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Three Profiles, the One in the Middle...
    (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Oskar Schlemmer. Three Profiles, the One in the Middle Vertical (Drei Profile, das mittlere senkrecht) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
  • Oskar Schlemmer. Three Heads, Superimposed (Drei Köpfe, ineinander)  from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Three Heads, Superimposed (Drei...
    (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Oskar Schlemmer. Three Heads, Superimposed (Drei Köpfe, ineinander)  from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
  • Oskar Schlemmer. Two Profiles to the Left, One to the Right (Zwei Profile nach links, eines nach rechts) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Two Profiles to the Left, One to the...
    (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Oskar Schlemmer. Two Profiles to the Left, One to the Right (Zwei Profile nach links, eines nach rechts) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
  • Oskar Schlemmer. Three Vertical Profiles, One Pointing to the Right (Drei Profile in Senkrechten, eines nach rechts) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Three Vertical Profiles, One Pointing to...
    (c. 1920, published 1923)
    Oskar Schlemmer. Three Vertical Profiles, One Pointing to the Right (Drei Profile in Senkrechten, eines nach rechts) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen). (c. 1920, published 1923)

About the portfolio

Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.

Spiel mit Köpfe (Play on heads) presents eight variations on a main theme in Oskar Schlemmer's art: the interaction of the human body with space. In each print, Schlemmer overlays multiple heads in profile, presenting them from various perspectives and in a range of tones but always as flat, two-dimensional forms. Color and plane are the only compositional elements.

To realize this technically complex portfolio, Schlemmer relied on the expertise of the printing workshop at the Bauhaus school, where he made all but a handful of his prints. Rudolf Baschant transferred Schlemmer's drawings to lithographic stones. Carl Zaubitzer then printed them by hand in a laborious process. The extraordinary technical accomplishment was achieved using stencils, which allowed Zaubitzer to pull each impression from a single stone. Schlemmer acknowledged their contributions on the title page.

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Schlemmer originally planned an edition of fifty, but that seems not to have been realized. The Museum's copy is one of the very few issued as a complete portfolio by the Utopia Verlag, which published writings by Bauhaus masters in the early 1920s with the intent of releasing additional print portfolios.

Oskar Schlemmer (German, 1888–1943)

The Portfolio

Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen)

Date:
(1923, prints executed c. 1920)
Medium:
Portfolio of six lithographs, one lithographed title page and one lithographed cover
Dimensions:
composition (each approx.): 10 1/8 x 7 13/16" (25.7 x 19.9 cm); sheet (each approx.): 16 1/2 x 11 5/16" (41.9 x 28.7 cm); overall: 19 3/8 x 13 x 1/4" (49.2 x 33 x 0.6 cm)
Paper:
Cream, smooth, laid (Panzerfaust).
Publisher:
Utopia-Verlag, Weimar
Printer:
Carl Zaubitzer, Staatliches Bauhaus, Weimar
Edition:
unknown (50 announced)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. B. Neumann
Reference:
Grohmann GL 11-17.
MoMA Number:
374.1949.1-8
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