Historical and Cultural Context

Bauhaus (1919 - 1933)

The first aim of the school was to "rescue all of the arts from the isolation in which each then found itself."

Bau|haus (bou'hous'), n. a school founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius at Weimar, Germany, and later located successively at Dessau, Berlin, and Chicago, to develop a functional architecture based on a correlation between creative design and modern industry and science. German Bauhaus: bauen = build + Haus = house.

Bauhaus - Artists

Walter Gropius - Bauhaus in Dressau - 1919 - 1925 -

The Bauhaus began with an utopian definition: "The building of the future" was to combine all the arts in ideal unity. http://www.bauhaus.de/english/bauhaus1919/index.htm

Gropius believed that artists and architects should be considered as craftsmen and that their creations should be practical and affordable. Bauhaus students included artists, architects, potters, weavers, sculptors and designers who studied together in workshops as had the artists and artisans of the Renaissance. The characteristic Bauhaus style was simple, geometrical and highly refined. In 1933 the school was closed by the Nazi government claiming that it was a centre of communist intellectualism. Although the school was physically dissolved, its staff continued to teach its ideals as they left Germany and emigrated all over the world. (The Art Book, p.506)

The Bauhaus firmly establish industrial design. It stripped away the decoration, and left clean lines of function. To some this represents the removal of all that is human in the crafts. To the teachers and followers of the involved in the Bauhaus, function was the primary concern, removing the past was a secondary consequence. The Bauhaus ushered in the modern era of design. While there were similar movements, such as the de Stijl, the Bauhaus has become the symbol of modern design. It did achieve many of Gropius's goals. It left a legacy for visual communication programs, art and design schools to follow. Many of these schools use the courses developed at the Bauhaus.

Events that shaped the arts from 1918 to 1933. | Top

1918 - On 9 November 1918 a republic was proclaimed in Berlin under the moderate socialist Friedrich Ebert. An elected National Assembly met in January 1919 in the city of Weimar and agreed on a constitution.

1918 - German-Russian Brest-Litovsk treaty ended World War One on Eastern Front. Bolshevik Party secret resolution and expression of opposition. When the war ended on the Western front, Russia disavowed its own treaty of peace with Germany (http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/sac.1917.1920.htm#1918no11).

1918 - Russian tsar Nicholas II and his family gunned down in captivity (http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/sac.1917.1920.htm)

1918 - Beginning with David Lloyd George, war-time Minister of Defense and Prime Minister, English labor movement adopted radical and social democratic positions in the post-WW1 years (http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/sac.1917.1920.htm).

1919 - India, Madras. Leader of anti-imperialist movement in India, Mohandas Gandhi published Indian Home Rule (http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/sac.1917.1920.htm).


1919 - France. Versailles peace conferences took place over a six month period. None of the defeated Central Powers were invited to the conferences, and the ex-ally Russia, now a revolutionary Soviet state, did not participate. The angry, insecure and (except the USA) damaged allies set out to remake Europe on their own (http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/sac.1917.1920.htm).

1919 - Ireland, Dublin. Sinn Fein Congress adopted declaration of independence from England (http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/sac.1917.1920.htm).

1919 - USA, Seattle General Strike, growing labor militancy (http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/sac.1917.1920.htm).

1919 - Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari is the masterpiece of German Expressionist film. One of the most admired and influential motion pictures of all time, Caligari has achieved the status of a cultural icon. Even those who have never seen the movie immediately recognize the haggard forms of Conrad Veidt as Cesare and Werner Krauss's Caligari, a representation of crazed totalitarianism foreshadowing the advent of the Third Reich.

coincidence - the sources of inspiration for this presentation come from an eye-opening visit to the Simon Wiesenthal Center - Museum of Tolerance, a prophetic look at the upcoming millennium, an on-going discussion about artists' expression of the times, and a deep-rooted desire to provide a forum for collaboration.- http://www.writedesignonline.com/gallery/coincidence/program.html


Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933)

1919 - Versailles Peace Settlement, involving the loss of continental territory and of all overseas colonies and the likelihood of a vast reparations debt, the terms being so unpopular as to provoke a brief right-wing revolt, the Kapp putsch.

1923 - The country was unable to meet reparation costs, and the mark collapsed, whereupon France and Belgium occupied the Ruhr in 1923, while in Bavaria right-wing extremists (including Hitler and Ludendorff) became more active. Hitler and the Nazis hatched a plot in which they would kidnap the leaders of the Bavarian government and force them at gunpoint to accept Hitler as their leader. Then, according to their plan, with the aid of famous World War One General Erich Ludendorff, they would win over the German army, proclaim a nationwide revolt and bring down the German democratic government in Berlin.

1929 - Discontented financial and industrial groups in the German National Party allied with Hitler's Nazi Party to form a powerful opposition.

1932 - As unemployment developed, support for this alliance grew, perceived as the only alternative to communism. In the presidential elections of 1932 Hitler gained some 13 million votes, exploiting anti-communist fears and anti-Semitic prejudice, although Hindenburg was himself re-elected.

1933 - Hindenburg was persuaded to accept Hitler as Chancellor.

1933 - Hitler declared a state of emergency (28 February 1933) and, on Hindenburg's death in 1934, made himself President and proclaimed the Third Reich.

Bauhaus - Artists | Top

Josef Albers
Josef Albers - Formulation, Articulation - 1972 -

Josef Albers

Herbert Bayer - Bauhaus text - 1925

Herbert Bayer | Top

Marcel Breuer - Wassily Chair
Marcel Breuer - Wassily Chair - 1927-28 -

Marcel Breuer | Top

Lyonel Feininger - Oberweimar
Lyonel Feininger - Oberweimar - 1921 -

Lyonel Feininger

Walter Gropius - Sugar Bowl
Walter Gropius - Sugar bowl - 1969 -

Walter Gropius | Top

Johannes Itten
Johannes Itten - Die Begegnung - 1916

Johannes Itten | Top

Wassily Kandinsky - Composition VIII - 1923

Wassily Kandinsky | Top

Paul Klee - Southern (Tunisian) Gardens - 1919

Paul Klee | Top

Mies van der Rohe - Barcelona chair
Ludwieg Mies van der Rohe - Barcelona chair - 1929

Mies van der Rohe | Top

Hannes Meyer - Konstruktion
Hannes Meyer - Konstruktion - ca. 1927 -

Hannes Meyer

Moholy-Nagy - Photogram
László Moholy-Nagy - Photogram - 1926 -

László Moholy-Nagy | Top

Georg Muche - Landscape with Mountain
Georg Muche - Berglandschaft [Landscape with Mountain] - 1962 -

Georg Muche | Top

Oskar Schlemmer
Oskar Schlemmer

Oskar Schlemmer | Top

The Bauhaus School - http://www.cs.umb.edu/~alilley/bauhaus.html - provides links to general information about the school and its masters.

bauhaus - archiv museum of design - http://www.bauhaus.de/english/index.htm - The Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design in Berlin is concerned with the research and presentation of the history and impact of the Bauhaus (1919-1933).

Worth checking out: Drawing Prompts - Each artist link provides an opening representative image suitable for drawing by students. Additional images and information are also provided to help students explore the vast posibilities of artistic expression.

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E-Mail Doug at mrdoug@aznet.net or Melissa at melissa.granadatreehousestudio@gmail.com

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