BAUHAUS 101

 

 

Bauhaus, which translates simply to ‚Äúhouse of building,‚ÄĚ was an art and architecture school in Germany, founded by the architect Walter Gropius. Gropius had served in the First World War, where he‚Äôd seen firsthand the horrors wrought by modern warfare and was acutely aware of the power of new technology to drastically¬†impact human life. Gropius was determined to find a way to harness the technological marvels of the 20th century for good. When he was selected to lead an arts school in Weimar, he saw the opportunity to put this idea into practice.

 


 

Gropius founded the Bauhaus school in 1919 on the then-radical notion that arts and crafts could be taught and practiced side by side. He sought to blend art and design in practice, using new technology to mass produce objects. Instead of classrooms and classical theory, the Bauhaus favored hands-on creation in workshops. Instead of siloing its students into single areas, they were actively encouraged to cross boundaries and collaborate, experimenting in metalwork, bookbinding, theatre, weaving, and architecture.

 

 

Bauhaus Art and Design:

 

László Moholy-Nagy, Segments, 1921

The Bauhaus was influenced by 19th and early 20th-century artistic movements, like Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau, that sought to level the distinction between the fine and applied arts and reunite creativity and manufacturing. That influence can be seen in the romantic medievalism of the Bauhaus ethos during its early years, when it was seen as more of a craftsmen guild. But by the mid-1920s, this vision had given way to a focus on uniting art and modern industrial design, and it was this which ultimately became the foundation for the Bauhaus's most original and important achievements.

 

Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mac, Reaching The Stars, 1922

Gertrude Arndt, Exercise on the Effect of Basic Forms in Black and White, 1924

 

 

 

Anni Albers, Design for a Rug, 1927

CHARACTERSITICS:

  • Rational, simple, functional
  • Form follows function - less is more
  • Lack of ornamentation
  • Clean lines that reduce forms to their essential elements
  • Simple geometric forms like a circle, square, or triangles
  • Use of bold but sparring pops of primary color

 

 

 

    Otto Werner, Architectural Sculpture, 1922

    Corona Krause, Study on Equilibrium, 1924

     

     

     

     

    "SO LET US THEREFORE CREATE A NEW GUILD OF CRAFTSMAN, FREE OF THE DIVISIVE CLASS PRETENSIONS THAT ENDEAVORED TO RAISE A PRIDEFUL BARRIER BETWEEN CRAFTSMAN AND ARTISTS! LET US STRIVE FOR, CONCEIVE AND CREATE THE NEW BUILDING OF THE FUTURE THAT WILL UNITE EVERY DISCIPLINE, ARCHITECTURE AND SCULPTURE AND PAINTING, AND WHICH WILL ONE DAY RISE HEAVENWARDS FROM THE MILLION HANDS OF CRAFTSMEN AS A CLEAR SYMBOL OF A NEW BELIEF TO COME." 

    -  Walter Gropius, Manifesto of The Staatliches Bauhaus

    Marianne Brandt, Small tea-essence pot, 1924

     

     

     

     

    Barcelona Chair, Mies van der Rohe, 1929

    Naum Slutzky, Door with door handle, 1921

     

     

    Marcel Breuer, Wassily Chair, 1927

      ARTISTS AND DESIGNERS TO KNOW:

      • Paul Klee
      • Anni Albers
      • Wassily Kandinski
      • Josef Albers
      • Marianne Brandt
      • Herbert Bayer
      • Johanne Itten
      • Gunta St√∂lzl

       

       

       

       

       

      Parisian apartment by architects Jean Ginsberg, André Ilinski and interior designer André Monpoix, 1961

      Walter Gropius, Directors' Room at the Bauhaus in Weimar, 1924

       

      Mies van der Rohe, Edith Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, 1945

      But the real revolution was the approach to teaching. ‚ÄúSchooling alone can never produce art!‚ÄĚ wrote Gropius, but knowledge and technique can be taught and learned. Practical and theoretical studies were carried on simultaneously; the preliminary course was defined by ‚Äúobservation and representation‚ÄĚ, study of materials, composition and color theory. Among the¬†instructors were Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Joseph Albers. Specialized workshops included metalwork, carpentry, weaving, pottery and typography. The aim was to reunite the arts previously separated by academies; to bring back the soul into soulless mass manufactured products and to restore art‚Äôs role and purpose in society.

      Bauhaus Architecture:

      Hans and Wassili Luckhardt, Haus am Ruperhorn, Berlin, 1932

      Similar to Bauhaus art, the architecture is shaped by harmoniously balanced geometric shapes and an emphasis on function. Featuring open plans and lots of glass, Bauhaus architecture was inspired by the simple yet polished look of the American Arts and Crafts movement - popularized at the time by Frank Lloyd Wright.

       

        Alfred Arndt, Haus des Volkes, Probstzella, Germany, 1932

        CHARACTERSITICS:

        • Materials like concrete, steel, and glass
        • Functional and practical shapes
        • Balanced asymmetry
        • Simplified color palette
        • Holistic design
        • Industrial style
        • "Truth to materials" -¬†the use of materials in their most natural state

          Walter Gropius, Bauhaus Dessau, 1925

          ARCHITECTS TO KNOW:

          • Walter Gropius
          • Hans Meyer
          • Mies van der Rohe
          • Marcel Breuer
          • Peter Keler
          • Le Corbusier

           

          Justinas ҆eibokas, 1979 in Gedimino 28, Vilniaus, Lithuania

           

          Marcel Breuer, Sea Lane House, Angmering-on-Sea, West Sussex, UK, 1936

           After just 14 years, The Bauhaus school was forced to close in 1933 by the Nazis, but its influence remains all around us. As faculty and students fled Germany and spread across the world, Bauhaus architecture began to appear in New York, London, Chicago, Geneva and Tel Aviv. Former faculty members took positions at other prestigious schools in the US and Europe, and continued to teach, inspiring a new generation of artists, craftspeople and designers.