A German Dancer Couple Created Extravagant And Playful Costumes Before They Committed Suicide In 1924
Knowledge of the astonishingly bizarre and tragic art of Walter Holdt and Lavinia Schulz is obscure and largely based on the rediscovery in 1986 of artifacts deposited in a Hamburg museum back in 1925.
Lavinia Schulz was born in Germany in 1896. She trained in dance, music and painting and aged just 17 became the costume creator and dancer for Lothar Schreyer who had just founded the Expressionist theatre Sturm-Bühne. She left the theatre aged 20 and married Walter Holdt.
Together their ethos was to live without money and they lived with no bed or furniture. They are also said to have lived in their dance tights so that they could constantly devote themselves to dance and costume.
The marriage, however, experienced intense strain. The couple had great difficulty earning any money and longed to find a way to live without it; Holdt apparently possessed a character that was not entirely trustworthy, and Schulz was violently jealous, perpetually terrified that Holdt would betray her for another woman.
In 1923 she gave birth to a son, but in this last year of the great inflation she and Holdt suffered from continual hunger. In June 1924 police discovered their bodies in the bizarre cellar apartment, with the baby between them. Schulz had shot Holdt to death, then killed herself.