While I know something of Art Nouvevau, The Arts and Crafts Movement, and Art Deco, Bauhaus has always eluded me. It’s out there somewhere, intriguing but phantom like, not really defined, not really settling into my consciousness. Just what is Bauhaus?
Metmuseum.org puts it this way:
“The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 in the city of Weimar by German architect Walter Gropius (1883–1969). Its core objective was a radical concept: to reimagine the material world to reflect the unity of all the arts. Gropius explained this vision for a union of art and design in the Proclamation of the Bauhaus (1919), which described a utopian craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single creative expression. Gropius developed a craft-based curriculum that would turn out artisans and designers capable of creating useful and beautiful objects appropriate to this new system of living.”
Although not illuminating the German art school of that name nor the movement itself, Wallpaper Magazine says that a new book by Taschen introduces the women of Bauhaus, without, unfortunately, documenting their works. Perhaps this book will lead to another title that does that.
Taschen subtitles Bauhaus Girls as Pioneers of Modernity: A tribute to Bauhaus’s women artists:
“Meet trailblazers like Marianne Brandt, Gertrud Arndt, and Lucia Moholy in Bauhausmädels—or “Bauhaus girls”, a term that expressed admiration for the young women who bravely eluded traditional gender roles to build a different future. With never-before-seen portraits and biographies, this is a unique celebration of the Bauhaus centennial and a long-overdue tribute to the school’s women artists.”
Clothbound, 6.7 x 9.4 in., 480 pages US $40
Wallpaper says the book is often too much portraiture, too many pictures of the women themselves, without information on what they did. The book is in English, French, and German, although the preview pages I saw at Taschen seemed mostly German.
Taschen describes Bauhaus this way:
“Uncompromisingly influential, Staatliches Bauhaus, or known simply as the Bauhaus, was an art and design school in Germany that developed the seeds of modernism and what would become known as ‘international style.’ Bauhaus synthesized traditional crafts and the fine arts, and received recognition for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. Indeed, the movement’s pedagogical philosophy is perhaps one if its most enduring characteristics. The quest for a total work of art, or Gesamtkunstwerk, drove the principles and practices of Bauhaus.”
“Taking place from 1919 to 1933, between the two world wars, Bauhaus developed a pioneering fusion of fine art, craftsmanship, and technology to be applied across painting, sculpture, design, architecture, film, photography, textiles, ceramics, theatre, and installation. Between its three successive locations in Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin, each featuring specially designed Bauhaus buildings, the movement grew out of the German national designers’ organization, Deutscher Werkbund, and the more general movement of German architectural modernism known as Neues Bauen. Ultimately, Bauhaus embodied the apolitical new objectivity in vogue, a rejection of the emotional expressionism which had preceded in German culture.”
Investigating this topic may lead to learning more about the Weimar Republic, the German State from 1918 to 1933, destitute but hopeful until the rise of Hitler. There is so much to know.