Main Bauhaus: 1919–1933

Bauhaus: 1919–1933

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The Bauhaus movement is one of the most significant and consequential cultural emergences of the twentieth century. Walter Gropius founded this institute of design in 1919 in Weimar and it was effective in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin. The teachings of the Bauhaus in design are still observed in today's architecture and design schools but also in general art classes. The products of the Bauhaus, such as Marcel Breuer's well-known steel pipe furniture, became inexpensive classic design standards. The Bauhaus buildings have made architectural history and now belong to the UNESCO world heritage. This book features an overview of the history of the Bauhaus, served by a rich image documentation, and sheds light on its evolution and connection with other movements, and renders the Bauhaus traceable and understandable to the reader.
Parkstone Press
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Temporis Collection
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    [image: ]


    Johannes Itten, House of the White Man, 1921,

    lithograph from the Master Portfolio of the

    Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar, 1921


    [image: ]


    Kurt Schmidt/Toni Hergt, Hunchback,

    doctor and town crier from

    The Adventures of the Little Hunchback, 1923



    Only with the opening of the Bauhaus building in Dessau in December 1926 did the theatre workshop find suitable premises. The festival level, with the assembly hall, stage and cafeteria and its potential for diverse uses, turned into ideal spatial experimenting grounds, as well as the entire building with its foyers, balconies and stairways, including the rooftop terrace of the atelier house. From 1927 the theatre reappeared in the official Bauhaus curriculum. As early as 1923 Schlemmer had demanded the examination of the basic elements of stage set creation and design: space, form, colour, sound, movement, and light. But only in Dessau was he able to begin the systematic implementation of these basic elements in the Bauhaus dances: space dance, form dance, gesture dance, hoop dance, rod dance, construction kit play, scenery dance and closet promenade. These dances as well as the associated masks, costumes and props were developed with the students, but also rehearsed with trained dancers and actors like Werner Siedhoff. In these dances, man does not appear as bearer of individual expression, but as a type of certain behaviour towards the formal stage elements. Thus, Schlemmer achieved the synthesis of man and marionette, of natural and artificial figures, into which he was able to insert a broad spectrum of expression, from weightless grace to monumental force. The Bauhaus theatre had its greatest success in 1929 during its tour to numerous German and Swiss cities.


    Under the directorship of Hannes Meyer from 1928 and with new duties for Schlemmer with the “Man” and “Figure Study” courses, the Bauhaus theatre had only a modest budget. In addition, a “; Young Group” had formed at the Bauhaus in 1928, which turned its attention to political theatre and current events. Working collectively, its members produced Sketch No. 1–Three Against One and participated with it in the Bauhaus theatre tour. Schlemmer clearly rejected political theatre at the Bauhaus; he left in 1929 and accepted an appointment in Breslau.


    The theatre workshop officially had only one or two registered students at the Bauhaus in Weimar, but in Dessau by 1929 the figure had risen to nine. Only Roman Clemens received a Bauhaus diploma for theatre and free painting, which again characterises the theatre workshop as a rather semi-professional field of study for all courses.


    Hannes Meyer closed the theatre in 1929 for economic reasons.


    [image: ]


    The young Bauhaus theatre in their

    Bauhaus Revue performing the Visit of the Professor L.

    in the City, 1929, photograph: Marianne Brandt



    Architecture/Building Studies/

    Building Department



    The architecture of the Bauhaus buildings themselves is one of the main focuses of public knowledge about the Bauhaus until this day and has gained even more importance after being included in the UNESCO World Heritage list as The Bauhaus Sites in Weimar and Dessau in 1996 as well as the ensuing comprehensive historic preservation efforts. From the director’s office in Weimar to the Haus am Horn and the Bauhaus buildings, the Masters’ houses in Dessau, numerous structures in the Dessau-Törten development and the Federal School of the ADGB in Bernau near Berlin, the most important pieces of architectural evidence of the Bauhaus have been historically preserved and restored and been made accessible to the general public as unified works of art. This also includes the key works of the third Bauhaus director, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in the Weißenhof development in Stuttgart, the Barcelona Pavilion and the Villa Tugendhat in Brno, which all date from before his time at the Bauhaus but shape the image of Bauhaus architecture until this day.


    Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe received important impulses for their later architectural creations in the office of Peter Behrens in Berlin from 1908 to 1910. In 1910 Gropius became a member of the Deutscher Werkbund, which had been founded by artists, architects and entrepreneurs in 1907, then established his own architecture practise in Berlin together with Adolf Meyer in 1910 and carried out his first main work, the Fagus Shoe Factory in Alfeld, together with Meyer in 1911. The office wing with its curtain façade over three floor levels became an icon of modern architecture. The reinforced concrete skeleton construction allowed for the design of corners made of glass, which gave the building a special transparency and elegance.


    The office and factory buildings at the Werkbund exhibition in Cologne in 1914 became the second principal work of Gropius & Meyer. By its immediate vicinity to Henry van de Velde’s theatre structure, the forward-looking architectural concept of Walter Gropius became especially apparent. While the older generation still regarded theatre building as the intellectual and cultural centre of society, Gropius symbolised the social and cultural opportunities of modern industrial society with this industrial structure. The office building with its lateral glass stairways, with the glass façade opening into the courtyard and a rooftop terrace symbolised innovative product design and modern business management. As early as 1911 Gropius had put together a photographic exhibition, combined with a lecture, on exemplary modern industrial structures for Karl Ernst Osthaus in Hagen, which was presented in Cologne in 1914. Before that, in March 1910, Gropius had presented his Programme for the Foundation of a General Housing Construction Company with Artistically Unified Basis Ltd to the then-head of the AEG company, Walther Rathenau, which focused on teamwork, types, standardisation, and industrialisation as well as education in order to increase quality and efficiency and solve the housing issue, a social problem at the time. “Art and technology–a new unity” had already become Gropius’s central idea in this programme, before it was to mobilise new forces in the context of the Bauhaus in 1923.[35]


    In the spring of 1919, Walter Gropius underlined the central position of architecture in this new academy for design in his Bauhaus programme:


    The Bauhaus strives for the […] reunification of all artistic disciplines […] into a new art of building […] The final, if distant objective of the Bauhaus is the unified work of art–the grand structure.[36]


    In practise, the development of standard architectural training at the Bauhaus proved extremely difficult and could only be realised at the Dessau Bauhaus in 1927 with the appointment of Swiss architect Hannes Meyer. Starting in 1919, Gropius had organised architecture courses with the Weimar Building Trades School led by Paul Klopfer and from 1921 held seminars and lectures himself, together with Adolf Meyer, on Spatial Studies–Practical Applied Drawing.[37]


    The Gropius architecture practise from the beginning had taken a central position in education at the Bauhaus. It arranged commissions for all Bauhaus workshops and thus gave numerous students the opportunity to implement their own ideas and designs practically while financing their studies. This also applied to the architectural projects themselves, in which the students were included at every stage, from planning and execution to model building in the sculpture workshop. For the first great post-war commission, the Sommerfeld house in Berlin, Gropius made use of this opportunity for collaboration. Inspired by the early country houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, this wooden house was erected in block construction on a limestone base and furnished with the help of the most talented students in the spirit of Gesamtkunstwerk under the site supervision of Fred Forbat. Joost Schmidt carried out the woodcarving work, Josef Albers made the coloured stained glass windows and Marcel Breuer designed some of the furniture.


    In the spring of 1920, Gropius announced a student competition for a Bauhaus development in Weimar, for which two drafts by Walter Determann are preserved. While the first draft provided for a scattered development with wooden buildings for communal living and working, in his second draft Determann developed a complex settlement model similar to the ideal city of the eighteenth century, with surrounding walls and lighthouses on the corners. On both sides of a central axis, studio houses for the Masters, workshop buildings, student boarding houses, estate and kindergarten were grouped, as well as the main buildings for communal activities. In the centre, there was a theatre according to the Greek model, accented by a glass pyramid. City planning ideas of the English “garden city” movement were combined with Bruno Taut’s architectural visions in this proposition.


    [image: ]


    Oskar Schlemmer, The Gesture (Dancer), 1922

    © Oskar Schlemmer Archive and Theatre Estate


    [image: ]


    Bauhaus Dessau, Semester plan, 1927


    [image: ]


    Kurt Schmidt, Constructive wood relief, 1923


    [image: ]


    Marcel Breuer, Chair of wooden slats, 1924


    [image: ]


    Gunta Stölzl, “Red-Green” slotted tapestry, 1927/28


    [image: ]


    Otto Lindig, Two coffee pots in

    earthenware and porcelain (L 19), 1923






    The bookbinding workshop of the Bauhaus constituted an exception among the Bauhaus workshops. As it had done with the weaving workshop, the Bauhaus made use of a workshop of a former arts and crafts school which had been operated by master bookbinder Otto Dorfner as a private business since 1915. Being an extremely well-versed master of his craft, Dorfner trained apprentices in his workshop as well as external technical students. From 1919 to 1922, at least twenty-three apprentices, visiting students, participants in trial semesters and technical students, sometimes more than ten per semester, trained with Dorfner. In 1920 alone, Fritz Baumann, Elisabeth Schweitzer, Karl Umlauf and Werner Voigt took their examination for the master craftsman diploma, followed by Paul Klein in 1922. They had all studied at least one semester at the Bauhaus.


    Differences of opinion in pedagogic matters between Masters of Form Paul Klee in 1921 and Lothar Schreyer during the winter semester of 1921/1922 led to the discontinuation of Dorfner’s contract with the Bauhaus at his request in March 1922. While Dorfner advocated well-founded education in the manual trades, the visual artists at the Bauhaus pleaded for greater creativity and room to experiment. The hierarchy between Masters of Form and Masters of Craft at the Bauhaus may also have contributed to this separation.


    Otto Dorfner, however, continued to work for the Bauhaus and took over the manual execution of numerous print-graphic portfolios. The focal points were the five portfolios of Bauhaus Prints and New European Graphics, published from 1921 to 1924. The artistic design of the portfolios, with hand-made cover papers designed by Lyonel Feininger, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack and Josef Albers, was the work of Lyonel Feininger. The ten portfolios of the “preferred” edition were produced on full parchment, the two hundred portfolios of the “normal” edition on half-parchment. The 1923 master’s portfolio of the Staatliche Bauhaus also contained half-parchment portfolios from Dorner’s workshop according to Feininger’s instructions, as well as the Twelve Wood Cuts by Lyonel Feininger in 1920. Kandinsky’s famous collection of prints from 1922, Small Worlds, contained full-parchment portfolios from the Dorfner workshop with gold embossing, while Gerhard Marcks’ parchment portfolios of Edda’s Wieland song (Das Wielandslied der Edda) of 1923 were completed with imprinted black writing. The same year Oskar Schlemmer’s Game with Heads (Spiel mit Köpfen) was published in a Dorfner portfolio. Around 1923 also, the albums were made which were to hold the photo documentation of the Weimar Bauhaus, with its more than 450 photographs.


    Otto Dorfner also evolved as an artist during these years. While expressionist trends with star motifs and acute-angled elements played a major role in 1919/1920, Dorfner increasingly designed his full-leather covers with fine rectangular gridlines and sans serif typefaces with asymmetrical compositions on the book cover. Only rarely did Dorfner approach the material experiments of his Bauhaus students; one such example is the 1928 cover of Johannes Schlaf’s Cosmos with book covers made from wood grain. His book covers were always integral works of art which complemented the book’s content with high artistic quality on the cover, endpaper, title and cut. Dorfner conveyed this rich experience from 1926 to 1930 as a teacher of lettering design and book covers at the State Academy for Crafts and Architecture, the successor school of the Bauhaus in Weimar, for whose publications he also oversaw the design.


    After Dorfner left the Bauhaus, the student Anni Wottitz re-established a small bookbindery workshop and continued her bookbinding experiments, which she had practised in the Dorfner workshop for five semesters. Her book covers show influences from experience in Itten’s preparatory course with materials studies and material collages as well as ethnographic ideas from the Bauhaus library or Theo van Doesburg’s De Stijl class with its clear geometric compositions. She used, for instance, bark fibre, seed capsules and shells for her book cover of African fairy tales, in combination with African embroidery and a paper collage in red, black and violet as an endpaper to contrast with the sand-coloured bark fibre. Wottitz gave Knut Hamsun’s Pan a dark-stained wood cover, which she tied with a light-coloured cord, combined with a contrasting endpaper made of gold paper. She bound Karl Widmaier’s The Dictator with a cardboard cover, covered in wrapping paper with a self-constructed title type band. Her cover for the complete works of Hölderlin, Volume 3 also dates from 1923: a half-leather binding in red Morocco leather and wood marquetry in black, red-brown and golden wood veneer with a strictly square composition.


    Friedl Dicker and Franz Singer followed similar design principles with their cover of Chorus Mysticus, made of wood veneer and parchment with a calligraphic design of the title in the centre. The writing is formed into a motif with an “O” as the crowning sun motif with a white circle of light and a red “M” with gold serifs in the centre. The photo documentation of the bookbindery workshop also shows covers with textile appliqués, material combinations or calligraphically-decorated papers.


    The transformation of book designs into individual works of art for books which had special meaning to their owners had been practised at the Bauhaus by Johannes Itten since 1919/1920 with the support of Otto Dorfner, as seen in Martin Buber’s Ecstatic Confessions with its parchment cover with red metal foil and calligraphy on the spine. The parchment cover of the Hafis songs, on the other hand, bears a free calligraphic design with curved letter forms on its front cover.


    Resembling one of Johannes Itten’s pieces of preparatory course work, the Bible cover by Johannes Driesch is decorated with images of Christ and St John on the cover, which was scratched, cut, coloured and gilded in black and brown leather on cardboard.


    In the estates of the Weimar Bauhaus students, sometimes entire libraries with book covers made in the Dorfner workshop can be found, such as in Karl Peter Röhl’s or Eberhard Schrammen’s. With more than fifty handmade covers, Schrammen’s library allows a glimpse into the spiritual world of the early Bauhaus as well as an overview of the different bookbinding techniques, mostly in half-leather and half-parchment binding with a multitude of coloured papers. Schrammen’s friendly relations with Dorfner are also documented in his Sketchbook for Otto Dorfner of 1919/1920, with numerous drawings and caricatures that evoke life at the early Bauhaus.


    Some of the most recent discoveries are experimental covers handmade by students in Dorfner’s workshop, which remain preserved until this day as part of the former Bauhaus library in the library of the Bauhaus-University Weimar.


    [image: ]


    Lyonel Feininger, Gelmeroda, 1923,

    wood engraving from the Master Portfolio of

    the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar, 1923





    Bauhaus 1919

    Walter Gropius becomes director of the Academy of Fine Art, which includes the former School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar. This Staatliche Bauhaus Weimar is an institution operated by the Free State of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach. Walter Gropius issues a manifesto and programme which reads:


    The Bauhaus is committed to forging all forms of artistic creation into a single whole, to bringing back together all artistic disciplines–sculpture, painting, arts and crafts, and manual trades–and making them integral components of a new art of building.


    Gropius moves his office from Berlin to Weimar. The first Bauhaus signet is created following a design by Bauhaus student Karl Peter Röhl. The first meeting of the Council of Masters is attended by the professors from the former Academy of Arts (Max Thedy, Walther Klemm, Otto Fröhlich, Richard Engelmann). Lyonel Feininger, Johannes Itten and Gerhard Marcks are appointed. The criticism Walter Gropius levels at the first exhibition of students’ work raises tensions with some of the students and the old Academy staff. The Bauhaus brings together workshops and classes in: stone sculpture, painting (Johannes Itten), graphics and printing (Walther Klemm), drawing, anatomy, bookbinding (Otto Dorfner) and weaving (Helene Börner). These are joined in December by a gold, silver and coppersmiths’ workshop (a private venture run by Naum Slutzky). Johannes Itten starts teaching the trial semester, later to become the Vorkurs, the preparatory course, an integral part of the curriculum from 1921. Gertrud Granow launches her course on harmonisation theory.

    Adherents of the German National Party among the students and the people of Weimar condemn what they see as Spartacist and Bolshevist influences at the Bauhaus.

    The Bauhaus has 101 female and 106 male students.


    Politics 1919

    Spartacus revolt in Berlin. Assassination of Liebknecht and Luxemburg. Elections to the National Assembly: Conservative Parties 44, National Liberals 22, other Liberals 75, Centrists 91, Social Democrats 163, Independent Social democrats 22, others 4 seats.

    1 Dollar = 8.50 Marks (1913: 1 Dollar = 4.20 Marks). The National Assembly is convened in response to the street fighting in Berlin and Weimar. The Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert is elected President. The Scheidemann administration disbands workers’ and soldiers’ councils. A general strike is put down in Berlin and other cities. Bavarian Soviet Republic. 1 Dollar = 13.50 Marks. The Treaty of Versailles is signed. Weimar Constitution.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1919

    Science and Technology: First address relayed by PA system in Berlin. German airmail gets underway between Berlin and Weimar. Hugo Junkers’ F13, the world’s first all-metal plane, takes to the air in Dessau. Literature: Demian by Hermann Hesse, The Last Days of Mankind by Karl Kraus. Theatre and Music: Max Reinhardt stages Oresteia (Aeschylus). Mary Wigman develops expressive dance. Film: Robert Wiene The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Arts: Le Corbusier and Amédée Ozenfant found the magazine L’ Esprit Nouveau in Paris. Painting: major futurist exhibition in Milan. Architecture: Auguste and Gustave Perret design Esders clothing factory, Paris.


    Bauhaus 1920

    The painter Georg Muche, from the circle of the Berlin gallery Der Sturm is appointed. He joins as Master of Form in woodcarving and bookbinding. German National Party members in Weimar publish a polemic against the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus responds with a brochure of its own, including a message of support by the Thuringian Minister of Culture. Walter Gropius turns down leading Dadaist Johannes Baader’s offer to join the Bauhaus. First Bauhaus evenings, including a lecture by Else Lasker-Schüler, a paper by Bruno Taut and concerts. For a short while the Bauhaus has its own department of architecture (headed by Adolf Meyer). Establishment of a copper and silver smithy (later metal workshop), a stone and wood-sculpting workshop, a decorative painting workshop (later mural painting) and a carpenter’s shop. According to the conceptual combination of art and manual trades, the workshops are led by a craftsman as Master of Craft and an artist as Master of Form. Max Krehan (Master of Craft) and Gerhard Marcks (Master of Form) set up a pottery workshop in Dornburg. Classes begin in October. Johannes Itten teaches the preparatory course which is henceforth obligatory for all students, and also teaches material and design studies to develop creativity. Lyonel Feininger’s works exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Weimar, Paul Klee’s works at the Kunstverein in Jena. Theo van Doesburg visits the Bauhaus.

    The school has 62 female and 81 male students.


    Politics 1920

    1 Dollar = 49.80 Marks. The Treaty of Versailles comes into force (territorial losses, occupation, reparations). Fighting between the red Ruhr Army and the German Reichswehr. Militant right-wing Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch against the government in Berlin and other cities foiled by general strike by the unions. Reichstag elections: conservative parties 71, national liberals 65, other liberals 39, centrists 90, social democrats 102, independent social democrats 81, communists 2, others 9 seats. League of Nations established.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1920

    Science and Technology: Notgemeinschaft der deutschen Wissenschaft founded, death of sociologist Max Weber, spectral analysis produces first findings on stellar atmosphere. Literature: The Theory of the Novel by Gyorgy Lukacs, Knut Hamsun awarded Nobel Prize for Literature. Theatre and Music: The Dead City by Erich Korngold, Concord Sonata by Charles Ives. Film: Fred Niblo The Mark of Zorro, The Golem by Paul Wegener. Arts: Vkhutemas (abbreviation for Higher Artistic-Technical Workshops, from 1927 Academy) founded in Moscow. Teachers at this school (comparable to the Bauhaus) include Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin and El Lissitzky. Art: Realistic Manifesto by Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner. Dada demonstration in Cologne. Architecture: Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International (project), Moscow.


    Bauhaus 1921

    Paul Klee and Oskar Schlemmer are appointed. The constitution of the Staatliches Bauhaus at Weimar is published, which will remain in force, after a revision, from 1923 to 1925. The teachers are called Masters, the students apprentices and Journeymen. The Bauhaus now incorporates the following workshops and Masters of Form: stone sculpture (Schlemmer), woodcarving (Muche), carpentry (Gropius), pottery (Marcks), gold, silver and copper smithies (Itten), mural painting and stained glass painting (Itten), weaving (Muche), graphic printing (Feininger), bookbinding (Klee).

    Gropius’s architectural practise (Walter Gropius, Adolf Meyer, and Carl Fieger) designs and builds a residence for the Berlin entrepreneur Adolf Sommerfeld in Berlin-Dahlem. Almost all Bauhaus workshops participate in the interior furnishing. Walter Gropius designs the Memorial to the Victims of the Right-Wing Putsch of March 1920, which is erected at the Weimar cemetery. The State Academy of Fine Arts is re-established by professors defecting from the Bauhaus. Walter Gropius is commissioned to convert the Municipal Theatre in Jena. Paul Klee starts his classes, which he calls “practical training in composition”. Johannes Itten attends a congress of the Zoroastrian Mazdaznan sect in Leipzig and introduces this esoteric doctrine of salvation (founded by the German-Russian Ottoman Zar-Adusht Otto Hanish in the US) at the Bauhaus in collaboration with Georg Muche. Gropius delivers lectures on the theory of space and practical technical drawing, supplemented by seminars from Adolf Meyer. The expressionist artist Lothar Schreyer becomes head of the theatre workshop. The Council of Masters resolves to publish the Bauhaus prints. The Dragon Festival is celebrated in the autumn. Tuition fees are 120 Marks per semester, twelve students are relieved of school fees for the winter semester.

    The Bauhaus has 44 female and 64 male students.


    Politics 1921

    German-Soviet economic agreement. Government of social democrats, German democrats and centrists. Walter Rathenau (German Democratic Party, AEG general manager) becomes Minister of Reconstruction. Hyper-inflation begins:

    1 Dollar = 88 Marks. Separate German-American peace treaty.

    1 Dollar = 209 Marks.


    Science. Technology. Arts. 1921

    Science and Technology: Albert Einstein awarded Nobel Prize for Physics, invention of coal liquefaction, insulin discovered. Literature: Jaroslav Hasek The Good Soldier Schweik. André Gide Fruits of the Earth. Theatre and Music: Murderer: the Women’s Hope by Paul Hindemith and Oskar Kokoschka. Arturo Toscanini becomes Director of La Scale in Milan. Film: Charlie Chaplin The Kid. Hans Richter Rhythmus 21. Fritz Lang Between Two Worlds. Painting: Pablo Picasso Three Musicians. Francis Picabia l’Oeil cacodylate. Architecture: Erich Mendelsohn Einstein-Tower, Potsdam.


    Bauhaus 1922

    Oskar Schlemmer designs a new Bauhaus signet. Johannes Itten resigns as head of the metal and furniture workshop. Theo von Doesburg launches his De Stijl course in Weimar, attracting a group of Bauhaus Masters and students. Adolf Meyer, previously office manager in Walter Gropius’s architecture practise, becomes extraordinary Master of Architecture. Exhibition of works by Bauhaus apprentices and Journeymen. Institution of the Bauhaus housing co-operative, designed to forge a single community of everyone at the Bauhaus. The government of Thuringia calls for the work of the Bauhaus to be presented at an exhibition of achievement. All energies are directed to this event, which finally takes place in 1923. The Council of Masters decides in the autumn to display a show-house at the exhibition with all interior decorations in order to demonstrate the collaboration of all workshops. Inauguration of the Monument to the Victims of the March 1920 Putsch at Weimar cemetery. Architecture exhibition at the Bauhaus: works by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer. Wassily Kandinsky is appointed. He heads the mural painting workshop and begins his design classes called “Colour.” The conflict between Gropius, who demands an opening of the Bauhaus to external commissions, and Itten, who rejects this in principle and favours the autonomous artist, intensifies and touches on the institution’s very existence. Gropius’s architecture practise enters the Chicago Tribune competition. Lantern and midsummer celebrations. The Bauhaus Masters display their works at the first Thuringian Exhibition of Art in Weimar. Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet is premiered in Stuttgart. The municipal theatre redesigned by Walter Gropius opens in Jena. Congress of the Constructivist International in Weimar (Theo van Doesburg, Max Burchartz, László Moholy-Nagy et al.). Works by Klee, Kandinsky and Feininger are installed in several rooms at the Schlossmuseum in Weimar. A group of Bauhaus students favouring constructivism join together to form KURI (German acronym for “constructive, utilitarian, rational and international”). Bauhaus Exhibition in Calcutta, India.

    The Bauhaus has 48 female and 71 male students.


    Politics 1922

    1 Dollar = 186.75 Marks. Treaty of Rapallo between Soviet Russia and Germany (waiving of reparations, institution of normal diplomatic and trade relations). Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau is assassinated. National Socialist Party (NDSAP) banned in Prussia, Saxony, Thuringia and elsewhere.

    1 Dollar = 1,298.37 Marks.

    1 Dollar = 7,500 Marks.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1922

    Science and Technology: Niels Bohr explains the periodic system of the elements, vitamin E discovered. Literature: Drums in the Night by Bertolt Brecht, Ulysses by James Joyce. Theatre and Music: Arnold Schönberg develops twelve-tone music, Louis Armstrong makes his first recordings in Chicago. Film: Nosferatu by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Cops by Buster Keaton. First talkie. Arts: First monumental mural in Mexico, Man Ray invents the rayograph, The Art of the Insane by Hans Prinzhorn. Architecture: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designs a Berlin office block in reinforced concrete (project). Le Corbusier Ville Contemporaine (project), Paris.


    Bauhaus 1923

    A majority of Bauhaus members rejects Lothar Schreyer’s play Mondspiel. He leaves the Bauhaus, Oskar Schlemmer heads the Bauhaus Theatre (together with the stone sculpture and woodcarving workshops). Itten departs for new pastures and is succeeded by László Moholy-Nagy, who takes over the Vorkurs and the metal workshop in October. Josef Albers heads the study of materials and the stained glass workshop. Walter Gropius delivers a paper on the Unity of Art, Technology and Science in Hanover. German Nationalist members of the Thuringian parliament criticise the organisation and management of the Bauhaus. The Education Minister speaks in its defence. Bauhaus Exhibition in Weimar with several displays (including international architecture, with works by Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, J. J. P. Oud and others), wall designs in the Bauhaus building (Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, Oskar Schlemmer), publications (Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar 1919-1923) and special events including the Mechanical Ballet by Kurt Schmidt and Georg Teltscher in Jena. The pinnacle of achievement is the Haus am Horn (idea and design by Georg Muche, assisted by Adolf Meyer) with furniture and objects by Marcel Breuer, Erich Dieckmann, Benita Otte, Gyula Pap and others. Walter Gropius opens the Exhibition with a paper entitled “Art and Technology–A New Unity”. He seeks to separate the production workshops from teaching. Classes by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky accompany the two-semester preparatory course. The army searches Walter Gropius’s home in response to an anonymous political tip-off.

    The Bauhaus has 41 female and 73 male students.


    Politics 1923

    French troops occupy the Ruhr, passive civil resistance.

    1 Dollar = 21,000 Marks

    1 Dollar = 78,250 Marks.

    1 Dollar = 1,100,000 Marks.

    60% of Germans jobless. General strike. Stresemann administration (grand coalition). Postwar crisis reaches a climax.

    1 Dollar = 2 trillion Marks. The Rentenmark is introduced on the basis of land ownership: 1 Rentenmark = 1,000 billion paper Marks.

    Communist revolts in Saxony, Thuringia and Hamburg. Workers’ government of independent social democrats and communists in Thuringia overthrown by the army. Hitler-Ludendorff Putsch put down in Munich. NDSAP banned throughout Germany. Marx (centrist) administration. Dawes Plan stabilises German currency.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1923

    Science and Technology: Madsen develops whooping cough vaccine, wireless photo-telegraphy between Italy and United States, Henry Ford’s autobiography My Life and Work appears in German translation. German public radio goes on air. Electronic image transmission. Literature: Rainer Maria Rilke Duinese Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus. Film: James P. Johnson The Charleston. Harold Lloyd Safety Last. Arts: Marcel Duchamp The Large Glass, or the Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even. El Lissitzky Proun Room in Berlin. Architecture: Le Corbusier Vers Une Architecture. Erich Mendelsohn hat factory, Luckenwalde.


    Bauhaus 1924

    Conservative forces in the Thuringian government demand the closure of the Bauhaus. Marcel Breuer, Georg Muche and Farkas Molnár pen a memorandum on the institution of an architecture department. The Bauhaus is represented at the building exhibition in Stuttgart. By way of precaution, the provincial government terminates the Masters’ and the director’s employment contracts with effect from 31st December 1925, after it is concluded that the Bauhaus is unprofitable. The Landtag budget committee debates the Bauhaus and slashes its budget from 146,000 to 50,000 Marks. Plans are made to transform the Bauhaus into a limited company. The Bauhaus band is founded. Bauhaus Festival celebrating five years of existence. Hendrik P. Berlage, Peter Behrens, Marc Chagall, Albert Einstein, Oskar Kokoschka, Arnold Schönberg and others join together to form the Society of Friends of the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus Director and Masters write an open letter stating the Bauhaus is to be abolished with effect from 1st April 1925.

    At this time the Bauhaus has 45 female and 82 male students.


    Politics 1924

    Reichstag elections: extreme right 32, conservative parties 95, national liberals 45, other liberals 28, centrists 81, social democrats 100, communists 62, others 29 seats. Allied conference in London adopts Dawes plan and resolves to withdraw occupying French troops from the Ruhr. The Reichsmark replaces the Rentenmark. Reichstag endorses Dawes plan. Industrial output rises to 71.9% of 1913 level. Reichstag elections: extreme right 14, conservative parties 103, national liberals 51, other liberals 32, centrists 88, social democrats 131, communists 45, others 29 seats.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1924

    Science and Technology: Australopithecus remains found, ten millionth car by Ford, rotary printer invented. Literature: Thomas Mann The Magic Mountain. Theatre and Music: Arthur Honegger Pacific 231. George Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue. Film: Fritz Lang Nibelungen. Buster Keaton The Navigator. Arts: André Breton Manifeste du Surréalisme. Otto Dix War. Architecture: Schröder House by Gerrit Rietveld, Utrecht. Fritz Höger Chilehaus, Hamburg.


    Bauhaus 1925

    Several cities want to take on the Bauhaus. Klee, Muche and Feininger hold talks with Dessau Mayor, Fritz Hesse, on the relocation of the Bauhaus to Dessau. Dessau City Council resolves to take over the Bauhaus, in spite of opposition from the right-wing. Farewell celebration in Weimar. The fiscal committee of Dessau Council approves the erection of the Bauhaus building (design: Walter Gropius). Relocation from Weimar to Dessau. Official start of classes in Dessau on 1st April. All Masters of Form except Gerhard Marcks move to Dessau. Former students, now Junior Masters, take over the workshops and thus the role of Masters of Form: Josef Albers (preparatory class), Herbert Bayer (typography), Marcel Breuer (furniture), Hinnerk Scheper (mural painting), Joost Schmidt (sculpture), Gunta Stölzl (weaving). The pottery, stained glass painting, woodcarving and stone sculpting workshops are not continued in Dessau. The posts of Masters of Craft and master craftsmen continue to be staffed in order to be able to train apprentices. Classes are held at the Municipal School of Arts, Crafts and Manual Trades pending completion of the Bauhaus building, while the workshops are based in storerooms at a mail order firm. The first of the series of Bauhaus books appears with works by Walter Gropius, Paul Klee, Adolf Meyer, Oskar Schlemmer, Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg and László Moholy-Nagy. Visits to industry and landscapes are part and parcel of teaching at the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus in Dessau switches to the lower case in all its writings and adheres to DIN standards. At talks in Weimar Gropius secures the rights of ownership for the Dessau Bauhaus of all items produced in the Bauhaus workshops up to 1st April 1925. 165 selected workshop items (design objects) are donated to the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Weimar. Bauhaus Ltd is incorporated to market the products developed by the Bauhaus. Some Dessau citizens form an association to oppose the Bauhaus. Topping-out ceremony for the Masters’ houses.

    The Bauhaus has 28 female and 73 male students.


    Politics 1925

    Death of the president of the German Reich, Friedrich Ebert, Paul von Hindenburg succeeds him. National Socialist Party (NDSAP) re-founded with 270,000 members. Locarno Conference, a move to safeguard peace in Europe. The annual number of owner-occupied and rented dwellings completed as detached, semi-detached or multi-family houses in non-perimeter block developments rises from 106,502 in 1925 to 317,682 in 1929. Growing urbanisation: 26.8% of Germans live in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in 1925, 30.4% in 1933.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1925

    Werner Heisenberg and others develop quantum mechanics. Television technology begins in Germany. Literature: Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos, Inquisiciones by Jorge Luis Borges. Theatre and Music: Wozzeck by Alban Berg, George Balanchine takes over the Ballets Russes in Paris. Film: The Gold Rush by Charlie Chaplin, Battleship Potemkin by Sergey Eisenstein. Art: International Arts and Crafts Exhibition in Paris (Art Deco), New Objectivity exhibition in Mannheim. First exhibition of surrealist paintings in Paris, Paul Klee participates. Architecture: Pessac Housing Project near Bordeaux by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret; Soviet Pavilion in Paris by Konstantin Melnikov.


    Bauhaus 1926

    The workshops are subdivided into teaching and productive sections. Topping-out ceremony for the Bauhaus building, followed by celebration (Festival in White) at the community and youth centre. Students move into the studio building. The workshops move to the Bauhaus building and the new constitution is issued: “It is the purpose of the Bauhaus… to:

    (1) shape the intellectual, craft and technical abilities of creatively talented human beings to equip them for design work, particularly construction, and

    (2) perform practical experiments, notably in housing construction and interiors, and to develop models for industry and the manual trades.”

    The Bauhaus is an Institute for Design. Study courses now lead to the Bauhaus diploma. The Bauhaus building is inaugurated in the presence of more than 1,000 guests from home and abroad. The first issue of the magazine Bauhaus appears. A grassroots association in Dessau decides to protest against the “un-German” Bauhaus (including a leafleting campaign to coincide with the inauguration). The first buildings of the Dessau-Törten development (design: Walter Gropius) are presented to the public. The Masters’ houses designed by Gropius are completed and handed over to the future inhabitants.

    The Bauhaus has 28 female and 73 male students.


    Politics 1926

    German-Soviet neutrality pact (Treaty of Berlin) signed. Plebiscite on expropriation of the aristocracy defeated. Germany becomes a permanent member of the League of Nations, moves towards German-French reconciliation.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1926

    Science and Technology: 16mm film developed. Roald Amundsen and Umberto Nobile fly over the North Pole in an airship. First liquid-fuel rocket. Literature: The Castle by Franz Kafka (posthumously), The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence. Theatre and Music: Giaccomo Puccini’s last opera Turandot premiered (posthumously) at La Scala, First Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich. Film: Nana by Jean Renoir, Mother by Vsevolod Pudovkin. Arts: Classes begin at the Staatliche Hochschule für Handwerk und Baukunst, the Bauhaus’s successor school in Weimar, headed by Otto Bartning. Max Ernst develops frottage, Adolf Loos builds a house in Paris for Tristan Tzara, a group of architects establishes Der Ring.


    Bauhaus 1927

    The architecture department opens under the guidance of the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer. Georg Muche and Richard Paulick experimental steel house is completed in Dessau-Törten. Institution of a “Seminar for Free Sculpting and Painting” with free painting classes (Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Joost Schmidt). Gret Palucca dances on the Bauhaus stage. The Bauhaus Dessau participates in the German Theatre Exhibition in Magdeburg. The fourth regular meeting of the Regional Planning Association (settlements committee) for the central German industrial region is convened in the Bauhaus. The right-wing Dessau press stirs up opinion against Bauhaus Masters. Georg Muche leaves the Bauhaus. Gunta Stölzl takes over the weaving workshop. Béla Bartók gives a concert in the hall, organised by the Society of Friends of the Bauhaus. Festival of Catchwords.

    The Bauhaus has 41 female and 125 male students.


    Politics 1927

    1.3 million unemployed in Germany. The German economy grows back to its 1913 level. Local employment exchanges come under the Reich. Compulsory unemployment insurance introduced throughout the Reich.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1927

    Science and Technology: 15 millionth car by Ford, Charles Lindbergh flies non-stop across the Atlantic, theory of chemical bonding. Literature: Being and Time by Martin Heidegger, Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. Theatre and Music: Josephine Baker in Paris, Erwin Piscator founds theatre in Berlin. Music: Black and Tan Fantasy by Duke Ellington. Film: Metropolis by Fritz Lang, Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis by Walter Ruttmann, Napoléon by Abel Gance. Arts: El Lissitzky’s Cabinet of the Abstract in Hanover, Malevich section at the Grand Berlin Art Exhibition. Architecture: Dymaxion House by Richard Buckminster Fuller, Werkbund Exposition, The Apartment in Stuttgart (Weißenhofsiedlung) co-ordinated by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bruno Taut A House.


    Bauhaus 1928

    Beard-Nose-Heart Festival at the Bauhaus (to mark its ninth anniversary). Walter Gropius is commissioned to build a new employment office for the city of Dessau. Official resignation of Walter Gropius. Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer and Marcel Breuer leave the Bauhaus with him. Hannes Meyer is appointed Gropius’s successor at the latter’s suggestion. He criticises formalist tendencies at the Bauhaus and gears it to scientific principles and the “needs of the common people rather than luxuries”. A group of Bauhaus members (Gunta Stölzl, Arieh Sharon and Peer Bücking) go to Moscow where they visit the Higher Art and Technical Workshops Vkhutein. Marianne Brandt steps in as head of the metal workshop until 1929. Design sales (metal lamps and later textiles) to industry. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is performed at the Dessau Friedrich Theatre with stage decor by Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky’s painting class exhibits its works at the Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie. Oskar Schlemmer starts his “Man” course. The Bauhaus exhibits photos by its members. The Hungarian Ernst Kállai becomes editor of the magazine Bauhaus (until 1929). The Bauhaus Dessau is represented at the Congress of Art Educationalists in Prague. The Constructivist Naum Gabo delivers a series of papers on fundamental design issues. Bauhaus members debate modern architecture, the Bauhaus and Vkhutein (previously Vkhutemas) with El Lissitzky. Lu Märten presents a paper on historical dialectics and experimentation. The architect Mart Stam becomes a visiting lecturer (until 1929). The engineer Alcar Rudelt holds structural engineering classes at the Bauhaus (until 1933).

    The Bauhaus has 46 female and 120 male students.


    Politics 1928

    Reichstag elections: NDSAP 12, conservative parties 73, national liberals 45, other liberals 25, centrists 78, social democrats 153, communists 54, others 51 seats. The government decides with NSDAP support to build armoured cruiser “A.”


    Science, Technology, Arts 1928

    Science and Technology: Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin, first flight around the world. CFCs discovered. Literature: Orlando by Virginia Woolf, the Gypsy Ballads by Federico García Lorca. Theatre and Music: Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, Bolero by Maurice Ravel. Film: October by Sergey Eisenstein, first film by Walt Disney featuring Mickey Mouse, Heir to Genghis Khan, or Storm over Asia by Vsevolod Pudovkin. Art: Dutch Interior I by Joan Miró, Großstadt by Otto Dix, German edition of Surrealism and Painting by André Breton. Architecture and design: The so-called Budapest Bauhaus Mühely is founded. International press exhibition (Pressa) in Cologne with Pavilion by El Lissitzky, Institution of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in La Sarraz, Switzerland, Rusakov Workers’ Club, Moscow by Konstantin Melnikov.


    Bauhaus 1929

    The bauhaus-wanderschau exhibition tours Basel, Essen, Mannheim, Breslau and Zurich with products from all workshops. Works of Bauhaus Masters exhibited at the Kunsthalle Basel. An exhibition of young Bauhaus painters tours Braunschweig, Krefeld, Halle an der Aaale, Erfurt and Berlin. Kandinsky exhibtion in Paris. Metallic Festival. The Bauhaus Dessau is represented at the Leipzig Spring Fair. The Bauhaus Theatre travels to Berlin, Breslau, Frankfurt-am-Main, Stuttgart and Basel. Anton Brenner runs a construction studio (until summer 1930). Photographer Walter Peterhans is appointed head of the new photography workshop. Topping-out ceremony for the German Labour Unions School in Bernau near Berlin. Built by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer, the school drew on the work of the building department and all workshops at the Bauhaus Dessau. Otto Neurath of Vienna delivers a paper on visual statistics and the present day. Masters’ contracts extended for another five years. Design of Junkers & Co stand at the Gas and Water Exhibition in Berlin (Joost Schmidt and Bauhaus students). The metal, furniture and mural-painting workshops are merged to form the interior decoration department headed by Alfred Arndt. The Bauhaus people’s apartment is displayed at an exhibition in the Grassi Museum, Leipzig. Oskar Schlemmer leaves the Bauhaus and takes up a post in Breslau. The Bauhaus Theatre develops into an agitprop theatre (until 1930). Ludwig Hilberseimer becomes lecturer in urban planning. The students become politically more extreme. The KPD (Communist Party) members among them join together to form KOSTUFRA (German acronym for Communist Students Group). 32,000 Reichsmarks in licence revenues are paid out to the students through the company Bauhaus Ltd. The workshops are represented at the World Exhibition in Barcelona.

    The Bauhaus has 58 female and 143 male students.


    Politics 1929

    22.8 million unemployed in Germany. Bloody May: the Berlin chief of police (SPD) attempts to enforce a ban on demonstrations on the 1st of May by force of arms (33 dead). France puts forward the idea of a United States of Europe to the League of Nations. French government overthrown. Petition for a referendum in Germany against the Young Plan (reparations of 34.5 billion Goldmarks). Black Friday on the New York Stock Exchange unleashes the Great Depression. The Reichstag rejects the Young Plan bill.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1929

    Science and Technology: First International Congress on the History of Science in Paris, Edwin P. Hubble develops the idea of the expanding universe, Albert Einstein General Field Theory, first TV broadcast in Berlin. Literature: The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms by Ernst Cassirer, Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin, Deutschland, Deutschland über alles by Kurt Tucholsky and John Heartfield, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, The Revolt of the Masses by José Ortega y Gasset. Theatre and Music: Cyankali by Friedrich Wolf, Political Theatre by Erwin Piscator. Film: Un chien andalou by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, first German talkies. Arts: Film and Photo Exhibition in Stuttgart (with Bauhaus representation), founding of the New York Museum of Modern Art, opening of the new building of the Folkwang Museum in Essen. Architecture: German Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Barcelona World Exposition, 2nd CIAM Congress, The Apartment for the Subsistence Level in Frankfurt-am-Main, exhibition Home and Workroom by the Werkbund in Breslau.


    Bauhaus 1930

    Developed in 1929, the Bauhaus wallpaper is now available by retail and becomes the school’s most successful product. Eduard Heiberg teaches architecture at the Bauhaus until the middle of the year. Visiting lecturer Karel Teige holds a course on contemporary literature and typography. Bauhaus carnival with political protests by students, Bauhaus attacked in the right-wing press. A group of students (including Hubert Hoffmann) start a study on the Dessau housing master plan which three Bauhaus members continue, by arrangement with Walter Gropius, after graduating. The study produces forty-seven plans, which are presented at the 4th CIAM congress in 1933. Visiting lecturer Count Karlfried von Dürckheim delivers papers on design psychology (intermittently until 1932). Completion of the housing blocks with balcony access by Hannes Meyer and students of the building department in the expansion of Dessau-Törten development. Hannes Meyer is called to account for the growing politicisation of the Bauhaus and dismissed by the city of Dessau as communist-oriented students step up their activities. He leaves for Moscow with several Bauhaus students. The Bauhaus is closed. At Gropius’s suggestion, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe becomes the new director. The school is re-opened with a new constitution which forbids all political student activities. All students have to renew their application to the Bauhaus at the beginning of the winter semester. Mies van der Rohe streamlines study courses and focuses more on architecture, notably the connection between the technology of building and aesthetic issues. Workshop activities are reduced. Training takes place in five departments: Building and Interior Furnishing, Advertising, Weaving, Photography and Fine Arts. The Bauhaus Theatre no longer exists. Mies van der Rohe seeks to keep the Bauhaus out of all political conflicts and expels the communist-oriented students.

    The Bauhaus has 44 female and 122 male students.


    Politics 1930

    First NSDAP Minister in a provincial government (Thuringia). 3.5 million jobless in Germany. Reichstag approves Young Plan. Fall of grand coalition under Müller (SPD). Minority cabinet led by Brüning. Hindenburg dissolves the Reichstag. Presidential government with emergency decrees under article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. Reichstag elections: NSDAP 107, conservative parties 41, national liberals 30, other liberals 20, centrists 87, social democrats 143, communists 77, others 72 seats. 4.4 million jobless, new emergency decrees.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1930

    Science and Technology: the planet Pluto discovered, theory of metallic conductivity. First wireless telecommunications, first airmail across the Atlantic, opening of the Museum of Hygiene with the Man of Glass in Dresden. Literature: The Man without Qualities by Robert Musil. Theatre: Rise and Fall of the Town of Mahagonny by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Transatlantic by George Antheil. Film: The Blue Angel by Josef von Sternberg, Animal Crackers by the Marx Brothers. Arts: Paul Schultze-Naumburg (NSDAP) becomes director of the Weimar State Institute for the Art of Building, Fine Arts and Manual Trades. Under his leadership, wall designs in the former Weimar Bauhaus are destroyed. Manifesto of Concrete Art by Theo van Doesburg, Zapata by Diego Rivera, War by Otto Dix. Architecture and Design: Exhibition of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs Français in Paris, the German department designed by Walter Gropius, Herbert Bayer, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy. Chrysler Building in New York by William van Alen, 3rd CIAM meeting debates rational development planning in Brussels.


    Bauhaus 1931

    Paul Klee takes up a post at the Düsseldorf Academy. The workshops and architecture department are merged to become the building and interior decoration department. First Bauhaus exhibition in the US (John Becker Gallery, New York). The Brochure with the Large Letters is published, emphasizing the non-political character of Bauhaus work. Gret Palucca dances in the Bauhaus assembly hall. Exhibition with works by Wassily Kandinsky. The last issue of the Bauhaus magazine, dedicated to Paul Klee, is published. Gunta Stölzl leaves the Bauhaus, Anni Albers stands in as head of the weaving workshop. Council elections in Dessau. The NSDAP demands as the first point on its campaign poster that the Bauhaus be deprived of its funding and the building demolished. Bauhaus exhibition in Moscow. Bauhaus concert (with Henry Cowell and others).

    The Bauhaus has 53 female and 141 male students.


    Politics 1931

    The Nazis become the strongest party in Dessau. 5 million unemployed in Germany. Emergency decree abolishes the right to demonstrate. Darmstädter Bank and National Bank collapse. Second Brüning cabinet. Far right Harzburg front (NSDAP, DNVP, Stahlhelm). Hitler wins support of leading German industrialists. Mass redundancies.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1931

    Science and Technology: Discovery of radio waves from space, Incompleteness Theorem by Kurt Gödel, the airship Graf Zeppelin flies over the Arctic. Literature: Castle Gripsholm by Kurt Tucholsky, Airman’s Odyssey by Antoine Saint-Exupéry. Theatre: Federico García Lorca founds La Barraca Theatre Group. Arts: Abstraction–Création group founded in Paris, Whitney Museum of American Art opens in New York. Film: M by Fritz Lang, City Lights by Charlie Chaplin, Frankenstein by James Whale. Architecture and design: German building exhibition in Berlin with participation by the Bauhaus and many former Bauhaus students, Villa Savoye at Poissy by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Empire State Building completed in New York. Berlin Broadcasting Centre by Hans Poelzig.


    Bauhaus 1932

    Lily Reich appointed to head the weaving workshop and interior decoration department. The Dessau City Council rejects the Nazi motion to close the Bauhaus and demolish the building. Mounting political conflicts among the students. The police disperse a student assembly in the Bauhaus cafeteria. Expulsion of several students. Lyonel Feininger paintings exhibited at the Bauhaus. Oskar Schlemmer’s paintings exhibited at the Bauhaus. Completion and handing over of a refreshment kiosk built for a Dessau owner close to the Masters’ houses (designer: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, site manager: Eduard Ludwig). Architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg, Prime Minister Freyberg, Council Leader Hofmann and a certain Herr Sommer (NSDAP) visit the Bauhaus in the company of Mayor Fritz Hesse. A few days later the NSDAP in Dessau initiates another motion for the closure of the Bauhaus. The students petition newspapers and the President of the Reich. Councillors led by Fritz Hesse visit the Bauhaus. The council meeting approves the NSDAP motion for the closure of the Bauhaus and the dismissal of all teaching staff with only four votes against (3 KPD, 1 Mayor Hesse) and the SPD abstaining. Mayor Hofmeister forbids the Bauhaus to use the lower case. Mies van der Rohe holds talks on the relocation of the Bauhaus to Magdeburg or Berlin. More than 900 people (on a special train from Chemnitz) visit the Bauhaus in a single day. The Dessau Bauhaus is officially closed. It moves to Berlin. Joost Schmidt, Alfred Arndt and Lyonel Feininger do not follow. Its new home is a former telephone factory in Siemensstraße in the suburb of Steglitz. In talks with the city of Dessau, Mies van der Rohe manages to secure the rights to the Bauhaus name and license revenues. The Bauhaus in Berlin is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s private school.

    The Bauhaus has 25 female and 90 male students.


    Politics 1932

    6.1 million unemployed in Germany. Reich presidential elections: Hindenburg 18 million votes, Hitler 11 million votes, Thälmann 5 million votes. Hindenburg dismisses Chancellor Brüning. Von Papen administration (centrist) is appointed. The Socialist and Democrat Anhalt state government is overthrown and replaced by an NSDAP and DNVP government. Hindenburg dissolves the Reichstag. Lausanne conference: reparations concluded with a final payment of 3 billion Reichsmarks. Reichstag elections: NSDAP is strongest party. Hindenburg rejects Hitler as Chancellor. Reichstag dissolved. Reichstag elections: NSDAP remains strongest party. Schleicher becomes Chancellor. Armament restrictions in the Treaty of Versailles abolished.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1932

    Science and Technology: Discovery of the neutron and deuterium, Piccard ascends to 16,940 metres in a hot-air balloon, Socioeconomic Theory of Art by Max Raphael. Literature: Little Man, What Now by Hans Fallada, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Theatre and Music: Moses and Aaron by Arnold Schönberg. Film: Borinage by Joris Ivens and Henri Storck, Kuhle Wampe by Slatan Dudow, first Venice Film Festival. Art: Surrealist exhibition in New York, major Picasso retrospective in Zurich. Architecture and design: the International Style Exhibition in New York Museum of Modern Art. Book by John-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson The International Style: Architecture since 1922, Frank Lloyd Wright sets up the Taliesin Fellowship.


    Bauhaus 1933

    Almost 700 people join in the Bauhaus carnival celebrations throughout the building. The Masters each design a department of their own. Plans for the conversion of the Bauhaus Berlin. Police search the Bauhaus on the orders of the Dessau district attorney’s office, thirty-two students are detained for one to two days and an application is made for the closure of the Bauhaus. Gebr. Rasch company and Bauhaus Ltd. conclude a contract on the purchase of the rights to the name Bauhaus Wallpaper. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe dissolves the Bauhaus at the start of the summer semester with the Masters’ consent, due to unacceptable conditions.

    At the time of its closure, the Bauhaus has 5 female and 14 male students.


    Politics 1933

    Schleicher resigns as Chancellor. Hindenburg names Adolf Hitler Chancellor. Communists call for a united front and a general strike. Hindenburg dissolves the Reichstag, new elections scheduled, demonstrations banned. SA, SS and Stahlhelm become police auxiliaries. Fire at the Reichstag. Final Reichstag elections: NSDAP 288, DNVP 53, centrists 73, social democrats 110, communists 81, German people’s party 19 seats. NSDAP declares communist seats invalid and orders arrest of communist members of the Reichstag, giving Nazis an absolute parliamentary majority. Empowerment Act (government can enact legislation without the Reichstag). GESTAPO (secret police) founded. Labour unions abolished. Banned books burned in Berlin. Social democrats outlawed. Other parties dissolve themselves. Germany leaves the League of Nations. Legislation on the unity of party and state.


    Science, Technology, Arts 1933

    Science and Technology: H. C. Urey isolates heavy water, land speed record of 437.91 kilometres per hour, freeways built in the United States and Germany. Literature: Blood Wedding by Federico García Lorca, Man’s Fate by André Malraux. Theatre: School of American Ballet founded. Film: The Crimes of Dr Mabuse by Fritz Lang, King Kong by E. B. Schoedsack, The Invisible Man by James Whale. Art: Edward Hopper exhibition at Museum of Modern Art, New York, Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, USA, Francis Bacon deals with the topic of crucifixion. Architecture and design: 4th CIAM Congress, The Functional City, on a sea journey from Marseilles to Athens (Charter of Athens).


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    Gertrud Arndt, Tapestry, 1927


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    Herbert Bayer, Bills from the emergency

    currency of the Thuringia region, 1923



    Bauhaus Dessau: Academy for Design (1925 to 1932)


    Once it became known that the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar was to be closed, several German cities rallied to take it over. It had reached such a degree of fame that cities like Frankfurt-am-Main, Mannheim, Munich, Hagen, Hamburg, Krefeld, Darmstadt and also the City of Dessau wanted to house the school, should the need arise.


    At the time Dessau was the capital of the State of Anhalt. Workers and employees of companies in the growing chemical and electronics industries lived there. These companies, while they may have been an incentive for the Bauhaus, were hardly apt for actual collaboration, as would soon be discovered. The Bauhaus community, and especially Walter Gropius, found the scenically delightful location of the city between two rivers appealing. Furthermore, they had a lot to catch up on culturally. Since there was a lack of apartments, the Bauhaus had good prospects of carrying out here its ideas of New Building, which had remained at the drawing-board stage in Weimar.


    Dessau’s mayor Fritz Hesse (DDP) had first heard of the Bauhaus in a newspaper article which he had received from Dessau’s chief musical director Franz von Hoesslin in 1923. When the school had entered a state of crisis in Weimar in 1924, he sent the Anhalt state curator, Ludwig Grote, to Weimar; Grote returned with a favourable impression and encouraged Hesse to take over the Bauhaus. Following an initial on-site meeting with Wassily Kandinsky and Georg Muche on 20th February 1925, the Bauhaus made a commitment to move to Dessau. Dessau City and Anhalt government representatives for their part travelled to Weimar on 7th March 1925 to get an impression of the school. Henceforth the president of the Landtag, Heinrich Peus (SPD), and the city councillor and later parliamentary president Richard Paulick were so enthusiastic about the Bauhaus that a takeover was considered in more concrete terms. Many Dessau politicians, such as the head of the city planning and building department Wilhelm Schmetzer and the head of the municipal planning and building department Theodor Overhoff, adopted a rather vacillating attitude towards the Bauhaus. Most of the politicians of the DNVP (German National People’s Party) and the DVP (German People’s Party), as well as wide sections of the middle classes, such as the Home Owners’ Party and a citizens’ association were opponents of the Bauhaus. Even during the initial takeover plans, the Bauhaus was attacked by these groups, but without success since a unique political situation had developed in Dessau. The SPD, classified as more right-wing within the political spectrum, had entered into a coalition with the liberal left-wing DDP (German Democratic Party) and on top of that had positive backing in the Anhalt free state. The KPD tried to exploit the Bauhaus as propaganda for their purposes from the start, and to influence it. The Dessau population, mostly industrial workers, adopted either a policy of wait-and-see or scepticism. Prominent representatives of the industries based in Dessau revealed themselves as supporters of the Bauhaus. Among those who turned toward new technological developments and were culturally open-minded was the scientist, businessman and aircraft engineer Hugo Junkers (1859-1935).


    Quite differently from Weimar, narrower and more definite ideas were crystallising in this political and social sphere, which was favoured by a renewed upward economic trend; the city, as the new supporter of the school, expected from the Bauhaus an initiatory effect for its cultural and structural development.


    After overcoming initial concerns on the part of some Bauhaus Masters, the city’s intentions were largely in harmony with the wishes of Gropius and his comrades. The opportunities in Dessau were far beyond those of any other city. In March 1925, the Dessau city council decided to take over the school. That same month, the city’s finance committee approved the construction of a Bauhaus building and the housing development for the Bauhaus Masters, and thus modified its earlier decision for the reconstruction of a local school for arts and crafts with which the Bauhaus was to merge.


    The Bauhaus Masters had not anticipated this offer from Dessau. Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy, Georg Muche and Oskar Schlemmer moved to Dessau, only Gerhard Marcks staying in Weimar. Not all the students followed. Former Weimar Bauhaus graduates who remained at the Bauhaus took over the workshops as Junior Masters, which actually would have allowed for the removal of the workshop leadership separation of Masters of Craft and Masters of Form. But since apprenticeships were to continue, the Master of Craft positions remained filled. Josef Albers ran part of the preparatory course as a Junior Master, Herbert Bayer was head of the typography workshop, Marcel Breuer ran the furniture workshop, Hinnerk Scheper ran the mural painting workshop, Joost Schmidt was head of the sculpture workshop and Gunta Stölzl was in charge of the weaving workshop.


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    Joost Schmidt, Mechanical stage, 1925/26


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    Otto Rittweger, Wolfgang Tümpel, Wilhelm Wagenfeld,

    Tea infusers with stands for storage (MT 20, MT 11, MT 59, MT 22), 1924


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    Bauhaus dress made from fabric by Lis Volger, 1928


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    Oskar Schlemmer, Plan of figures for

    The Triadic Ballet, 1924-26

    © Oskar Schlemmer Archive and Theatre Estate


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    Oskar Schlemmer, The Bauhaus Staircase, 1932

    © Oskar Schlemmer Archive and Theatre Estate


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    Otto Lindig, Covered pots and jugs (L 66, L 30, L 21, L 25), 1923


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    Walter Gropius, Adolf Meyer,

    Sommerfeld house, Berlin, 1920



    In 1922 Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus Housing Co-operative, Ltd with the young Hungarian architect Fred Forbat as planner, which was intended to construct an academic complex above the Goethe garden house with attached housing for friends of the Bauhaus. In this context, Gropius developed his “Building Blocks at Large” with functional building blocks for room cells, from which individual houses were to be industrially produced according to clients’ wishes. In the age of hyper-inflation, however, of all these projects only the sample Haus am Horn could be carried out. This had been drafted by Georg Muche with the participation of the Gropius architecture practise and been erected over four months on the occasion of the 1923 Bauhaus Exhibition, and furnished with the help of all the Bauhaus workshops. It was a truly experimental structure: a living experiment with individual rooms, minimised like ship’s cabins to make more room for a central living room; a technological experiment with light, pre-cast concrete blocks made of industrial waste products; an ecological experiment with thermal zoning of the rooms and minimised exterior surfaces and window openings to the south-west as well as insulation materials made of peat to provide for better heat insulation; finally, a social experiment intended to lighten the load of the occupier by using easy-care materials for floors, windows, doors and wet areas as well as the most modern household technology.[38]


    Almost at the same time as Walter Gropius’s 1922 competition design for the Chicago Tribune Tower with its visible skeleton structure, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe developed his famous office and skyscraper projects which were unfortunately never carried out.


    Mies van der Rohe designed the 20-storey office building for Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse around a central utility core with stairways and elevator. The building was to be situated on a tight, triangular property in a maple leaf shape. With the prismatic sectioning of the structural masses and the hung glass façade, he would have achieved optimum lighting and ventilation as well as manageable and aesthetically sophisticated interior rooms. Mies van der Rohe further developed the theme with his glass skyscraper of 1922, a 30-storey building with organic forms on an irregularly-shaped property, now with two round utility cores and few interior supports.


    [image: ]


    Walter Gropius, Employment agency

    in the city of Dessau, view, 1927-29



    After the Freidorf communal settlement near Basel with 150 housing units and a community house, erected from 1919 to 1924, Hannes Meyer consequently turned towards the modern in 1926, one year before joining the Dessau Bauhaus, with his new office partner Hans Wittwer. Along with the competition design for the Peter School in Basel–which with its rooftop terraces seems to have landed on a square in the old town like a UFO from another world–Meyer and Wittwer participated in the international competition for the League of Nations Palace in Geneva. Their work, which received third prize among 377 participants, implemented the tender requirements in the best forward-looking manner with two independent, but connected, building parts: the hall building for 3,000 delegates in an oval shape for optimum viewing and acoustic conditions, and the secretariat complex as a flat structure from which a 24-storey double high-rise building soars upwards with 500 offices and attached radio masts as symbols of modern global communications. The authors promoted their project, which resembles an early version of the UN headquarters in New York, with its quick orientation, short vertical connections, best-possible incidence of light and best transportation with adjacent railway and underground parking.[39]


    The main architectural work of Hannes Meyers with Hans Wittwer is undoubtedly the Federal School of the ADGB (General German Federation of Labour Unions) in Bernau near Berlin, which was built from 1928 to 1930. Meyer won the invitational competition against Max Berg, Erich Mendelsohn and Max Taut, among others. On the basis of a social organisation form of study and seminar groups for 120 course participants, he created a functionally varied building complex with a close connection to the existing natural space with a pine forest and watercourse. The community centre with assembly hall and dining room is adjacent to the five staggered boarding structures connected by glass corridors, which end at the seminar building and the sports hall. Perpendicular to this, six single-family town houses for teachers and other staff are grouped together. The existing pond was expanded, connected to a swimming pool and surrounded by a jogging path. The sports facilities were completed by a sports field of Olympic standards. This union school was thus not only able to serve the political education of its members, but also to enable a new, collective lifestyle with intellectual exchange, cultural and sports activities. Brick façade and reinforced concrete structures, in combination with light steel construction from the connection corridor to the windows, as well as visible installation lines, determine the objectively precise appearance of this architecture, in which hygienic aspects like light, air and ease of care receive special consideration. The students of the building department at the Bauhaus, Hermann Bunzel, Arieh Sharon and Lotte Beese, participated in the planning stage; other Bauhaus students like Konrad Püschel helped with construction supervision. The Bauhaus weaving workshop developed a wall covering for the assembly hall, and the carpentry workshop made the desks for the rooms in the boarding facility.


    The study and organisational plan of the Bauhaus by Hannes Meyer of 1928 provided for nine semesters of education for architects: a one-semester preparatory course with Albers, Kandinsky and Klee, then two semesters of construction fundamentals in design and scientific disciplines including workshop work, three semesters of construction studies with special studies in statics, building construction, building material studies and psychology and three semesters of building office and construction practise. The larger number of teachers in construction studies–Hannes Meyer, Hans Wittwer, Ludwig Hilbersheimer, Anton Brenner and Mart Stam as well as in the engineering disciplines and subsidiary subjects with Friedrich Engemann, Alcar Rudelt, Wilhelm Müller, Friedrich Köhn, Carl Fieger, etc.–speaks for the professionalism and quality of the education, which was even further increased by guest lecturers. The scientifically based and practically oriented education was at the centre of all efforts and proved a good investment for an entire study group in the construction of the balcony access houses in Törten.


    The German Pavilion at the International Exposition in Barcelona in 1929 was the basis for Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s world fame. It was Germany’s first participation in a World Exposition after the First World War and was to serve as self-promotion of a new, democratic state. This pavilion stood on a pedestal like a small temple and defined a flowing space, a unified work of art of meditative character with its noble walls of green marble and yellow onyx as well as the roof floating on eight chrome-plated cross supports, with reflective water surfaces and a sculpture by Georg Kolbe. The building provided the greatest possible contrast to the adjacent exhibition structures in historical styles, particularly the Spanish Village with its “copies” of important Spanish buildings from all over the country. This tension can be felt again today, after a copy of the Barcelona pavilion was erected in its former location. At the same time, Mies van der Rohe’s most famous villa, the Tugendhat House in Brno, was created. Here, Mies van der Rohe made use of the sloping site and the park-like property with a view of the old town in a congenial manner, with a two-storied estate with upper-level development and generous living area on the ground floor, as well as sinkable glass walls that did away with the separation between the interior and exterior. Again, cross-shaped steel supports clad in chrome-plated sheet metal appear almost dematerialised and enable a flowing space.


    Mies van der Rohe radically restructured the education at the Bauhaus after his assumption of office in 1930, drastically reducing workshop work and focusing the studies on building and furnishing, supported by Lilly Reich, into a more academic course of studies without direct connections to practise or even real construction efforts. The architectural ideas and quality criteria of Mies van der Rohe became the benchmark for student designs, and not the development of individual design ideas. Along with the systematic design studies by Ludwig Hilberseimer, however, the students still worked on free projects like the Bauwelt competition The Growing House in 1931/1932, the competition for the theatre in Kharkiv by Arieh Sharon, Wilhelm Heß, Pius Pahl and Waldemar Hüsing or the designs for the People’s House and the State Printing House in Belgrade by Selman Selmanagic. Many projects which deal with contemporary city development ideas are credited to the students’ own initiatives, like the Design for a Socialist City of 1931 by Reinhold Rossig with Russian architectural ideas of linear cities, or the seminar paper Junkers Builds for Its Workers by eight students in 1932, which addresses positions of the CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d´Architecture Moderne) and the Russian constructivists, such as communal boarding houses and complex infrastructure for training, education, sports and recreation.


    The Bauhaus architects contributed decisively to the development of New Building in Germany and elsewhere in Europe with their international network as members of architectural organisations and associations.


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    Josef Albers, Font templates, 1923-26


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    Building of the former Grand-Ducal Saxon School of

    Arts and Crafts in Weimar, architect: Henry van de Velde,

    1905/06 (UNESCO World Heritage Site)



    Between Vision and Reality: The 1919 to 1920 Construction Phase


    After Belgian artist Henry van de Velde had submitted his petition for release from his post as Director of the Großherzogliche Kunstgewerbeschule (Grand-Ducal School of Arts and Crafts) to the Weimar Grand Duke on 25th July 1914, just a few days after the outbreak of World War I, his contract finished on 1st October 1915, the date that the school closed. As his successors, Van de Velde recommended to the Grand-Ducal Saxon State Ministry the German architect August Endell (1871-1925) and Walter Gropius, as well as the Swiss sculptor Hermann Obrist (1863-1927). Since October 1915, a lively correspondence had developed between Fritz Mackensen (1866-1953), the painter and director of the Großherzoglich Sächsische Hochschule (Grand-Ducal Saxon Academy of Fine Arts) in Weimar, and Walter Gropius regarding the attachment of an architecture and visual arts department, of which Gropius was to be the head. He was staying in Weimar in December and was granted an audience with the Grand Duke to discuss the appointment. On 25th January 1916, Gropius, at the request of the Weimar State Ministry, submitted his Suggestions for the Founding of an Educational Establishment as an Artistic Advice Centre for Industry, Trade and Crafts[1]. One year later, the professorial staff of the Academy of Fine Arts submitted a list of reform suggestions to the State Ministry, particularly asking that the educational programme be extended to include architecture, arts and crafts and theatre arts.


    On the 3rd November 1918, revolution began in Germany and reached Weimar five days later. On the 9th, the social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann (1865-1939) proclaimed the “German Republic” in the Reichstag, and two hours later Karl Liebknecht proclaimed his “Free Socialist Republic” at Berlin Castle. The Kaiser and all the German princes abdicated without any far-reaching radical social changes.


    On 3rd December 1918, the first meeting of the November Group took place in Berlin. It was an association of artists and architects such as Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956), Wassily Kandinsky, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and also included Max Pechstein (1881-1955), Otto Dix (1891-1969), George Grosz (1893-1959) and Hans Poelzig (1869-1936), who wanted to make their contribution to the building of the young republic. Parallel to this gathering, the Working Council of the Arts was formed, including a group intent on reforming the education system led by architect Otto Bartning (1883-1959), with whom Gropius also collaborated. A central question was the creation of equal opportunities for all students by means of a unified school, in connection with the idea of a working school. Special emphasis was placed on the reform of fine arts academies. The results of these discussions were also expressed in an only slightly modified form in Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus Programme and Manifesto, which appeared in April 1919 with Lyonel Feininger’s woodcut on the cover. The reunification of all artistic principles in building, in combination with manual trades and workshop as educational fundamentals were the focal point of its aims and objectives. The Masters, Journeymen and Apprentices of the Bauhaus were to be closely in touch with industry and public life and strive for friendly relationships amongst themselves outside of classes as well as in them, with theatre, lectures, music and “ceremonious merriment at these gatherings.”[2]


    The first Bauhaus signet, the “matchstick star man”, which led student Karl Peter Röhl (1890-1975) to win the student competition, was a special symbol of this departure from convention. It its centre is an abstract line drawing of a man with his arms raised, consciously following Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452-1519) Vitruvian Man in a circle and square, but reminiscent at the same time of the Old Germanic double-rune “man-woman” with a circular head, which with its black and white halves represents the highest degree of abstraction of the Chinese yin and yang. This Bauhaus man carries a pyramid as the antique symbol of the unity of society, art and religion. He is orbited by the sun as a swastika, the Buddhist symbol of love, and the moon and stars–world cultures and world religions form the humanistic backdrop for the Bauhaus’s visions of the future.


    The foundation of the Bauhaus coincided with the first elections in the newly founded Free State of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach on 9th March 1919, and the formation of a new provisional republican government by the Social Democrats (SPD) and the German Democrats (DDP). In February and March, Gropius travelled to Weimar on several occasions for negotiations and gained support for his appointment as Director and the new name Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar (State Bauhaus in Weimar) from the Fine Arts Academy staff. On 1st April 1919, the Weimar Lord Chamberlain’s office signed the contract with Gropius and also agreed to the institution’s renaming on 12th April.


    In the merger of the former Academy of Fine Arts and the Academy of Arts and Crafts, Gropius had to take on the remaining professors of the Academy of Fine Arts, Richard Engelmann (1868-1957), Otto Fröhlich, Walther Klemm (1883-1957) and Max Thedy (1858-1924). The appointment of the new international faculty of avant-garde artists took all of four years. In 1919, Lyonel Feininger, Gerhard Marcks (1889-1981) and Johannes Itten (1888-1967) joined, then one year later Georg Muche (1895-1987). In 1921 came Paul Klee (1879-1940), Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943) and Lothar Schreyer (1886-1966), then Wassily Kandinsky in 1922 and László Moholy-Nagy replacing Itten as late as 1923.


    As early as the autumn of 1919, Bauhaus opponents in Weimar–conservative craftsmen, academic artists, members of the right-wing conservative educated class and politicians–formed the Free Association for City Interests and publicly attacked the “… Spartacist and Bolshevist influences” in the Bauhaus. At one such meeting the Bauhaus master student Hans Groß lamented the lack of a nationalist, “German-minded” leadership personality at the Bauhaus. The “Groß Case” led not only to the withdrawal of more than a dozen students and a complaint to the state government against the Bauhaus by forty-nine right-wing conservative Weimar citizens and artists, but also to the first mobilisation of Bauhaus supporters in the Deutsche Werkbund and the Berlin Working Council for the Arts. Walter Gropius countered the pamphlet against the Bauhaus by Emil Erfurth, chairman of the nationalist Bürgerausschuss (Citizens’ Committee), with his own leaflet in the spring of 1920, supported by the Ministry of Education and the Arts.


    On 30th April 1920 eight previously independent Thuringian free states joined together to form the district of Thuringia with Weimar as the capital. On 20th June the first state elections took place, which resulted in a coalition between SPD, USPD (Independent Social Democratic Party), and DDP led by August Fröhlich. The Bauhaus was put under the control of the Ministry of Public Education, Art and Justice. On 9th July Gropius gave a speech in front of the Thuringian parliament and participated as an expert in budget discussions. He took advantage of the opportunity to present the development of the Arts Academies into the Bauhaus, to reject political attacks and to lobby for the expansion of the completely insufficient Bauhaus budget.


    [image: ]


    László Moholy-Nagy, Construction Z 1, 1922/23


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    Hannes Meyer, Syndicate school of the

    ADGB in Bernau, aerial view by Junkers, 1928-30


    [image: ]


    1919-1933 Weimar-Dessau-Berlin



    Michael Siebenbrodt

    & Lutz Schöbe




    [image: ]


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    Weaving workshop at the Bauhaus Weimar, c. 1923


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    The stage class in costumes from the play The Staircase

    Farce by Oskar Schlemmer, on the roof of the

    Bauhaus building, 1927, photograph: Erich Consemüller

    © Oskar Schlemmer Archive and Theatre Estate


    [image: ]


    Oskar Schlemmer, Seal of the Weimar Bauhaus,

    “Profile”, 1922

    © Oskar Schlemmer Archive and Theatre Estate



    Gropius was only able to implement regular architectural education with the appointment of Swiss national Hannes Meyer (1889-1954) to the Dessau Bauhaus in 1927. This change in the perception of the Bauhaus was also to be reflected in a new signet, which was designed by means of a competition between the Bauhaus Masters. Oskar Schlemmer’s head in profile emerged as the winner. Again, man was in the centre, now reduced to the head as the centre of feeling and intellect in a geometrically abstract use of form typical of the industrial age. The Bauhaus’s reorientation was substantially stimulated by the work of Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931) in Weimar. In 1917 Doesburg had founded the Dutch artists’ association De Stijl with Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), which with its holistic approach deduced a canon of artistic means with right angles and primary colours complemented by grey, black and white–a modern style. In December van Doesburg had visited the Bauhaus, and he had moved to Weimar in 1921. From March to July 1922, he held his legendary De Stijl class in Karl Peter Röhl’s studio in Weimar. More than twenty people participated, mainly Bauhaus students, from Walter Herzger (1903-1985) to Andor Weininger (1899-1986), but also some teaching staff: Josef Zachmann (born 1905), Erich Brendel and fellow artists from Jena like Max Burchartz (1887-1961) and Walter Dexel (1890-1973). On 25th September 1922, Theo van Doesburg also called the Congress of Constructivist International to Weimar, and was hoping to follow Itten into the Master’s position he was going to vacate, but Gropius appointed Hungarian constructivist and concept artist László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) instead. Thus Gropius consciously avoided the dominance of any one style at the Bauhaus in favour of an open and pluralistic design concept, which was oriented not least on the new opportunities of print media and advertising, film, photo and electronic data transmission. The KURI group (Constructive-Utilitarian-Rational International) of Bauhaus students, led by Farkas Molnár (1895-1945), which had been formed at the end of 1922, also promoted the modernisation of the Bauhaus.


    This period also includes the only larger municipal architectural project, the reconstruction of the Jena City Theatre in 1921/22, commissioned by Ernst Hardt, the Director of the German National Theatre in Weimar. In the course of this renovation, a fresco by Schlemmer was washed off the ceiling in the auditorium due to complaints by Dexel and van Doesburg, who replaced it with a painting in grey, peach and deep blue.


    On 13th April 1922, the Bauhaus development co-operative was founded to overcome the lack of student and teacher studios and living spaces, but also to promote the construction of a new academy building with better workshop facilities. In June 1922 the Thuringian state government requested a comprehensive exhibition of the Bauhaus achievements and made the further allocation of funds dependent on it. Gropius scheduled this exhibition for the summer of 1923 and focused the forces of the entire school on this goal, which is why no new students were accepted at the Bauhaus at that time. The first Bauhaus art exhibition took place at the end of 1922 in Calcutta, India, initiated by the Indian poet and painter Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). More than 250 hand drawings and printed graphics by the Bauhaus Masters, among them theatre projects by Schreyer and numerous preparatory course works by Margit Téry, were presented.[3]


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    Oskar Schlemmer, Abstrakte Figur nach links (Figur “S”)

    (Abstract figure on the left, “S” figure), 1923, lithograph


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    Lyonel Feininger, Dröbsdorf, 1927


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    Bauhaus Berlin in a former telephone factory,

    1932, photograph: Howard Dearstyne



    After the dissolution of the Bauhaus, Mies van der Rohe occasionally ran seminars on questions about the art of building with a small circle of former Bauhaus graduates in his private studio. Finally, in 1938, he became Director of the Architectural Department at the Amour Institute, which would become the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Several Bauhaus graduates followed him there. Walter Gropius had left Germany earlier for England, together with Marcel Breuer. From there, he transferred to the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1937. Hannes Meyer, who had gone to the USSR after his discharge as Bauhaus director, later worked in Switzerland for some time, as well as in Mexico. Wassily Kandinsky emigrated to Paris as early as 1933. Paul Klee returned to his hometown of Berne the same year. Also in 1933, Josef Albers went to the USA and became one of the first Bauhaus teachers to teach at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. László Moholy-Nagy became head of the “New Bauhaus” in Chicago in 1937, where several Bauhaus graduates worked in the years following. Lyonel Feininger, too, emigrated in 1937 to the USA with Herbert Bayer, while Johannes Itten was drawn to Zurich in 1939.


    Bauhaus teachers Oskar Schlemmer, Georg Muche and Gerhard Marcks, whose works had been categorised as “degenerate”, however, stayed in Germany. A large proportion of Bauhaus graduates and former students got by in the Third Reich in some form or other, often moving between conformity and resistance. Some of them were unable to find work in any architectural office or advertising company, while some made careers for themselves. Politically active opponents of the National Socialist system and Jewish students were forced into exile or subject to prosecution. Some lost their lives in prison or concentration camps, such as Susanne Banki, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, Lotte Menzel and Hedwig Slutzki in Auschwitz, Willi Jungmittag in Brandenburg and Josef Knau on the concentration ship Thielbeck.


    [image: ]


    Farkas Molnár, Georg and El Muche

    with the Haus am Horn, 1923


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    Walter Gropius, Drawing by Carl Fieger,

    Total Theatre project for Erwin Piscator, 1927


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    Edmund Collein and Heinz Loew, Study of light sculpture, 1928


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    Franz Ehrlich, Invitation to the

    Bauhaus Carnival on March 1st, 1930



    Effect and Reaction



    The Bauhaus’s worldwide effect and the reaction to it has touched the areas of design, architecture, fine arts and pedagogy from the time of its foundation until today. Even during the school’s existence, its ideas, principles and methods had effects beyond the Germany’s borders.

    The radicalism with which the Bauhaus raised pressing issues of the industrial society and provided exemplary solutions led to it becoming a synonym for the “modern.” Depending on the onlooker’s point of view, it became either a positive–often idealised–or negative–often demonised–point of reference. Even today, the spiritual as well as material reactions to Bauhaus achievements play a major role in discussions of the future of culture and society. Innumerable books, articles and exhibitions, as well as the continued commercial success of Bauhaus products, which have become “design classics”, have contributed to the dissemination of Bauhaus ideas. This also includes the creation of the simple term “Bauhaus style.”

    The Bauhaus was already being internationally discussed on the occasion of its exhibition in 1923. It saw itself as a part of, and a mediator for, the movement of cultural modernity, and communicated with varied artistic and philosophical groups and movements. The Bauhaus was represented at all important congresses and exhibitions. Walter Gropius belonged to the elite of modern architects who participated in the Weissenhof development in Stuttgart beginning in 1927, which had been organised like an exhibition by the Deutscher Werkbund. He and other architects of the Bauhaus were integrated into the work of the CIAM (International Congresses for New Building), which beginning in 1928 posed important questions of architectural and city development. The effects of the Bauhaus were disseminated by means of public relations work geared towards the media, the production and sale of its products, the presentation of the artistic works of its members and, of course, the exemplary teaching methods and education principles.

    Reaction to the Bauhaus in the area of art pedagogy had already commenced in the 1920s, when, approximately ten years after the school’s foundation, parts of the pedagogic concepts of the Bauhaus were being integrated into various other schools in their arts and crafts education programmes. Reservations of art teachers regarding the Bauhaus and its art education methods led to the fact that reference was often only made to the material practise of the Bauhaus and less to its design theories. The teaching of Bauhaus ideas in German and international art schools, such as the Essen Folkwang School, the Hamburg State Art School and the Stettin Arts and Crafts School was carried on by former Bauhaus teachers and students. Gerhard Marcks joined the Burg Giebichenstein Halle Arts and Crafts School in 1925; Oskar Schlemmer taught at the Breslau Academy from 1929; and Paul Klee taught at the Dusseldorf Art Academy from 1931. These were educational institutions which sought to implement reform concepts in arts and crafts education parallel to the Bauhaus with the establishment of preparatory classes, teaching and production workshops as well as classes for special design areas. The Weimar Construction Academy, the direct successor of the Bauhaus, had Bauhaus students like Ernst Neufert, Erich Dieckmann and Wilhelm Wagenfeld on its teaching staff. The school called The Path, founded at the same time as the Bauhaus in Dresden and later with a branch in Berlin run by Bauhaus students, also expressly dedicated itself to a general creative education and activity in applied areas, as did the private Reimann School, also located in Berlin, and one of the most important private art schools of the Weimar Republic. With the intention of practising a unified art education in his spirit in connection with subjects like architecture, photography and advertising, a very specific variant of the Bauhaus emerged in 1926 with the private art school opened by Johannes Itten. The Bauhaus student Sandor Bortnik founded the Workshop (Mühely), also called the Hungarian Bauhaus, in the same year. Two years later, an arts and crafts school was created in Bratislava called the Bratislavsky Bauhaus, which in its basic orientation also showed parallels to the original Bauhaus. The schools closest to the methods and education profile of the Bauhaus were the Higher Artistic-Technical Workshops (Vkhutemas) in Moscow, which were renamed Vkhutein in 1927 and to which direct contacts existed from 1928.


    Bauhaus and the Third Reich

    The National Socialists attacked the Bauhaus and denounced it as “un-German” and “Bolshevik.” They brought about the final closure of the school in 1933 and thus caused the end of a democratic development oriented on holistic education. Many former Bauhaus students were persecuted, incarcerated and annihilated due to their aesthetic and political convictions. While their abstract artistic work in particular was considered “degenerate”, many of their buildings with flat roofs were denounced as “un-German” and called “desert architecture.” Nevertheless, there was also a continuity of Bauhaus designs in the Third Reich. Depending on expediency, modern design approaches were integrated into the cultural concept of the National Socialists, and particularly in the areas of commercial art and industrial construction, some freedom remained. Not a few Bauhaus students were thus able to continue working in their profession. This chapter of Janus-faced modernisation split the Bauhaus students remaining in Germany into victims, accomplices, “internal emigrants”, and resistance fighters.


    The Bauhaus and the United States

    Largely removed from all far-reaching social and cultural visions, The International Style Exhibition in 1932 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, as well as the book of the same title by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, increased and broadened the international concept of “the modern” as a style. Continued work, especially in Bauhaus pedagogy, was possible with the emigration of many Bauhaus teachers and students to the U.S., where they found a favourable reception. Thoughts, methods and principles of the Bauhaus were spread by individual strategies and attempts at integration with existing education systems. The interest in the establishment of a new Bauhaus-like education operation had already faded by 1938, since the Bauhaus was by then considered antiquated, but there was interest in its teaching methods and their implementation.[53] Josef Albers taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina beginning in 1933, and from 1950 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Walter Gropius went to London in 1934, and from there followed a call to become an architecture professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1937. Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Walter Peterhans and Herbert Bayer also emigrated to the United States. They all influenced American art and culture. In 1937, the foundation of the “New Bauhaus” in Chicago by László Moholy-Nagy took place, but it was later continued under a different name and annexed to the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1946. Unlike any other Bauhaus student, Moholy-Nagy tried to take over the Bauhaus model as a whole. Exposed to free market conditions and confronted with the special American circumstances (autonomy of art, design and architecture), his enterprise was doomed to failure. The Museum of Modern Art hosted a great Bauhaus Exhibition in 1938, whose catalogue represents the first comprehensive publication on the topic and continues to shape the American view of the Bauhaus with its focus on the directorship of Walter Gropius. Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became the most influential architects in the United States for a generation because of their work and their teaching.


    The Bauhaus and the Soviet Union

    Hannes Meyer and a group of his Bauhaus students tried to contribute to the establishment of a truly socialist society in the Soviet Union. They worked on city planning and architectural projects in Moscow and other regions until the mid 1930s. They eventually fell victim to the increasingly powerful Stalinist repression machinery, which was able to suppress not only its own but also imported avant-garde concepts in favour of the doctrine of socialist realism, and at the same time push the political persecution of immigrants. Thus, members of the Hannes Meyer camp were displaced into Stalin’s camps and murdered. Meyer himself, who had also fallen into political disfavour, eventually returned to Switzerland in 1936.


    The Bauhaus and the Federal Republic of Germany

    In post-war Germany, the Bauhaus initially enjoyed a growing reputation. This process continued in different ways with the split into the two new German states in 1949. In both East and West Germany, Bauhaus students exerted important influence on design, architecture and design pedagogy, working in art and architecture schools or practising their respective professions. While the Bauhaus was initially reduced to its most important artists in the west and mystically transfigured, rather than fully examined, a process of differentiated examination began with the Ulm Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG, Ulm Academy for Design) founded at the beginning of the 1950s, in which the former Bauhaus student Max Bill played a great part. He became the first director of the Ulm school, which existed until 1968. Other Bauhaus students worked in the fields of architecture, product design, visual communication and information. Like the Bauhaus, the HfG was led by a holist