Lot 102
  • 102

OSKAR SCHLEMMER | Am Geländer, Fünf-Figuren-Gruppe (By the Handrail, Group of Five Figures)

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Oskar Schlemmer
  • Am Geländer, Fünf-Figuren-Gruppe (By the Handrail, Group of Five Figures)
  • pencil and coloured crayon on paper affixed to the artist's mount
  • image: 28.5 by 22cm., 11 1/4 by 8 5/8 in.
  • mount: 33 by 28cm., 13 by 11in.
  • Executed circa 1931.


Estate of the Artist
Tut Schlemmer, Stuttgart (the artist's widow; by descent from the above)
Karl Ströher, Darmstadt (acquired in 1952)
Dr. Erika Pohl-Ströher, Switzerland (by descent from the above in 1977)
Thence by descent to the present owner in 2016


Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Kunst unserer Zeit, Privatsammlung Karl Ströher, 1954, no. 162
Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Die Sammlung Karl Ströher, 2, 1965, no. 122, illustrated in the catalogue
Munich, Galerie Verein, Neue Pinakothek and Haus der Kunst, Sammlung 1968, Karl Ströher, 1968, no. 212, illustrated in the catalogue


Erika Pohl, Ursula Ströher & Gerhard Pohl (ed.), Karl Ströher, Sammler und Sammlung, Stuttgart, 1982, no. 515, illustrated p. 324

Catalogue Note

Executed circa 1931, Fünf Figuren am Geländer (Five Figures by the Handrail) is part of a series of works begun during the Bauhaus years in which Schlemmer concentrates on positioning figures within an architectural space using opposing horizontal, vertical and diagonal planes. The theme of the staircase proved particularly compelling for the artist and these works culminated in the monumental Bauhaustreppe of 1932 (today on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York). United by a common vertical axis, the five women of the present work – each holding on to the handrail – are superimposed upon each other and receding into the composition. Schlemmer achieves a perfect compositional harmony despite the opposing planes of movement that imbues the figures with a meditative, calming poise as they climb ever higher. Through the drama and simplicity of its elegant and refined graphic style, this work articulates the crux of Schlemmer’s art; the meeting between form and formlessness, between the immutable idea and reality of the human body and the unknowable, infinity of human space. On one level, it is a painting with an apparent subject matter derived from the world of visual appearance but on the other, it is an idealised revelatory vision, a complex semi-abstract fusion of simple elements, encapsulating a melodious unity on the picture plane that intimates at the idea of sublime perfection.

The present work demonstrates Oskar Schlemmer's construction and offers an insight into the artist's working process.

We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Karin von Maur for her assistance in cataloging this lot.