Thursday, 5 December 2013


The Bauhaus was a school in 1920's Germany that was open to students and taught fine art and the crafts as the same thing. They sought to make a truly total art by combining everything from typography to architecture. The word Bauhaus supposedly meant 'House of Construction'. The creator and first leader of the school was Walter Gropius. It was founded in 1919 after censorship on the arts had decreased at the hand of the newly established Weimar Republic. The republic government funded the school and encouraged their art, but did not use it for their own propaganda purposes and therefore their distribution was not as widespread as the Russian Constructivists that were about from the same time. They still had things to learn from the Russians. Once it had matured and finally got itself an architecture department (they didn't have it for ages which is surprising when you consider what Bauhaus means), their power over the 'total art' truly kicked in and I am sure there was large influence from the Russians.

Lyonel Feininger,
Bauhaus Manifesto, 1919, Cathedral of Socialism
A picture in the Manifesto. It implies that the Bauhaus will act as influential on the socialist idea of 'production for use' as a cathedral does for the Christian faith.

Paul Klee, 
Invitation Card for Exhibition, 1923
Paul Klee tried everything, he's been a Cubist, Futurist, Expressionist, Surrealist... But he did also make himself known on the Bauhaus scene. This is his card for the exhibition that they held in 1923. Using simple forms to create a podium for the Weimar establishment. What is holding the Weimar up is the congregation of shapes that Kandinsky's theory was based on. Thus, Weimar is held up by the Bauhaus!

In the Current Six Thresholds, 1929
The thing with abstract art is that it is difficult to categorise. Why is this part of the Bauhaus and not 'the Style'? Well because the vast majority of modern art movements and schools ended up at one place: abstract art. How they got there though is important and how we categorise them.

Wassily Kandinsky,
Composition VIII, 1923
Kandinsky is the chap who wrote the theory of Translation - the idea that shapes and colours have a certain correspondance. In fact, he did a survey at the Bauhaus school and had hollow shapes of a circle, square and triangle for the person to colour in with a colour they see suitable. He had previously stated that that triangles are yellow, squares are red and circles are blue. The results of his test were quite amazing because nearly EVERYONE coloured them in that way. I'm sure that if you wrack your brain you might remember as an 11 year old being told to do that - because I was! Nowadays though, the results are different because we see triangles as red because we see red triangular warning signs; circles tend to be drawn as yellow as a reference to the sun; and lastly squares blue because we've already chosen the other two colours!

Walter Gropius
Gropius House, 1938
The creator of the Bauhaus School designed himself a family home in the USA. Architecture has become useful and minimalist.

Bauhaus, 1925-26
The famous typography created by Herbert Bayer. He designed it in the belief that it was the clearest typeface and based it on 'timeless' laws.

Fagus Shoe Factory, 1911-25

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