Top 10 Things to Know About Bauhaus
1. The Bauhaus was founded as a design guild, or school, by architect Walter Gropius to teach a wide variety of trades, from cabinet making and furniture design, to weaving, metalwork, and painting. The design favored simplified forms, rationality, and functionality. This “workshop” greatly differed from the favored, yet impractical, academic studio education that was standard at the time.
2. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or mason’s lodges.
3. During the 19th century, ornate foliate forms, rich materials, and foreign influences from the East dominated art and architecture. The Bauhaus revolutionized artistic and architectural thinking and design by pairing down form to its most basic function. This set the tone for minimalist design aesthetic that ruled the 20th century.
4. The basis of the Bauhaus movement was to unify all arts through craft, a practice that had been broken during the Industrial Revolution. When a focus on craft became too cost prohibitive, the movement refocused to designing for mass production, adopting the slogan “Art into Industry”. For example, tubular, steel framed furniture, now with closely associated with the Bauhaus aesthetic, was able to be produced quickly and in mass.
5. Among the many genres of fine and decorative art, the Bauhaus also focused on typography. Graphic designer Herbert Bayer felt that typeface was the clearest form of communication and artistic expression. The Bauhaus is responsible for the creation of San Serif and Bauhaus fonts.
6. Originally founded in Weimar, Germany, the Bauhaus moved headquarters to Dessau in 1924. There are numerous original Bauhaus buildings still in Dessau today, many of which are open for visitation. These include the School Building, Employment Office, Kornhaus, Konsum Building, Steel House, and Masters House, among others.
7. One of the Bauhaus course’s central concept was that of contrasting effects: leather and wood, steel and concrete, and in the case of the Bauhaus painters–color.
8. Artist, Josef Albers met his wiffe Anni in the Bauhaus while he was studying painting, and she was studying textiles. When the coupled immigrated to the United States at the start of World War I, the two began a lasting artistic legacy which still resonates in contemporary American visual culture.
9. Some of the greatest modern artists and designers of the 20th century studied or taught at the Bauhaus including: Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Mies Van Der Rohe, László Moholy-Nagy, Marcel Breuer, and Marianne Brandt.
10. With the rise of Nazi power in Germany, the Bauhaus were labeled “degenerate” and many artworks and designs were destroyed. In 1933, the remaining members of the Bauhaus decided to dissolve the group and shut its doors, rather than bend to the will of the Nazi regime. At a 2009 exhibition at the Neue Museum in Weimar, it was brought to light that the Nazis later leaned onthe functionality of the Bauhaus design to build concentration camps such as Buchenwald.
Featured Image:The Bauhaus Building by Walter Gropius (1925-26)