Oskar Schlemmer's Vordruck: The making of an architectural body for the Bauhaus

Marcia Fae Feuerstein, University of Pennsylvania


Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943) an early twentieth century avant garde figure, is known for pedagogical, artistic, theatrical, and architectural projects in Germany between the world wars. As Master Teacher at the Weimar and Dessau Bauhaus, he was distinguished by his focus on the human body in space. This focus fits Schlemmer and his work firmly within the important subject of the human body and architecture. This dissertation focuses on the image of a male human body designed by Schlemmer, titled Vordruck, or "form," which Schlemmer made into a standardized form that was handed out and used in his Bauhaus course, Der Mensch--the Human Being, in the late 20s. The Vordruck is used here to explore his ideas about the human body in the context of design and architecture at the Bauhaus. Schlemmer placed this human and Raum or "space" at the forefront of his productions. Yet the resoundingly maleness of the body and space of the Vordruck is revealed to have female origins: the source of the Vordruck was female. Schlemmer's Vordruck is the lens for a number of explorations. These include ideas of type, sources for this human type, the function of the canonical in artistic production, the implications of creating "ideal types" in the design and redesign of male and female human forms, as well as in the kind of architecture that was produced by the Bauhaus. This lens reveals how Schlemmer's bodies in space provoke architectural places of playfulness as well as ambiguity, vacancy, and indifference, and cause one to ask questions about events of that period in history and the acceptance of difference.

Subject Area

Architecture|Art History|Educational theory

Recommended Citation

Feuerstein, Marcia Fae, "Oskar Schlemmer's Vordruck: The making of an architectural body for the Bauhaus" (1998). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9829896.