Bauhaus Stairway, Oskar Schlemmer
Oskar Schlemmer
Bauhaus Stairway
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Oskar Schlemmer

Bauhaus Stairway, 1931 – 1932

279 x 219 mm
Physical Description
Pencil and watercolour on wove paper
Inventory Number
Object Number
17910 Z
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection
Can be presented in the study room of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)


About the Work

When the Nazi majority in the Dessau city council deliberated the dissolution of the Bauhaus in 1932, Schlemmer began painting the ‘Bauhaus Stairway’, meanwhile long an iconic image (Museum of Modern Art, New York). In the process, he drew on earlier studies, especially this delicate watercolour sketch. The figures calmly climb the stairway of the Dessau Bauhaus. They look timeless, de-individualized, in harmony with one another and their architectural setting. The work is a programmatic formulation of the underlying Bauhaus idea—the unity of the human being and architecture.

About the Acquisition

The Städel Museum has the photographer, psychotherapist, philanthropist, and long-time Frankfurt resident Ulrike Crespo (1950–2019) to thank for more than ninety works ranging from classical modernism to American pop art. The paintings, drawings, and prints by Wassily Kandinsky, Otto Dix, Oskar Schlemmer, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly, and others originally belonged to the holdings of her grandfather, the Darmstadt-based industrialist Karl Ströher (1890–1977), who amassed an extensive art collection after World War II.

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