The Festive Costumes that Couldn’t Conceal Tragedy

German dancers Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt created extravagant, playful, Bauhaus-like costumes before they, financially destitute, committed suicide in 1924. Or rather, in an apparent pact, Schulz turned the gun on herself after mortally wounding Holdt.


p style=”font-size: 13.6px;”>Their tragic end may explain why this series of photographs, taken by Minya Diez-Dührkoop the same year as their death, was put in a box and forgotten until the 1980s, exhibited in 2012, and now released into the public domain by the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.

The costumes — cobbled together out of found cardboard, sacks, wire, papier-mâché, plaster, fabric, and leather — closely resemble those of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet, aka Bauhaus Ballet, which first dazzled audiences nearly a century ago.

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