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About this work

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)

Two Profiles to the Left, One to the Right (Zwei Profile nach links, eines nach rechts) from Play on Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen)

Date:
(c. 1920, published 1923)
Medium:
Lithograph from a portfolio of six lithographs, one lithographed title page and one lithographed cover
Dimensions:
composition (irreg.): 10 3/16 x 8" (25.9 x 20.3 cm); sheet: 16 1/2 x 11 5/16" (41.9 x 28.7 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 16.
MoMA Number:
374.1949.5
Techniques:
Lithography

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