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Art History: Bauhaus School: (1919 - 1933)

The Bauhaus School was an academy of art and design founded in Weimar, Germany in 1919 by Walter Gropius. Bauhaus is a German expression that literally means "house for building." The Bauhaus school was founded to rebuild the country after a devastating war and also form a new social order. As a social program, the Bauhaus’s ideals were that the artist must recognize his social responsibility to the community and likewise, the community must accept and support the artist. In the artistic theory, the Bauhaus school strived to produce a new approach to architecture that incorporated artistic design, craftsmanship, and modern machine technology. Their aim was the use the principles of Classical architecture in its pure form without ornamentation. Therefore, Bauhaus architects rejected details such as cornices, eaves, and other decorative elements. The Bauhaus was founded by combining the Weimar Art Academy and the Weimar Arts and Crafts School, thus students were trained as both artist and craftsman

The School became one of the best-known progressive institutions for art and design instruction in the twentieth century. The major goals of the school were to encourage craftsman and artists to collaborate, to elevate the status of crafts, and to maintain relations with industry and craft leaders in order to eventually become independent of government control. It was at its height between World War I and World War II, during the somewhat liberal Weimar Republic period. In 1925, the School was forced to move to Dessau. In 1928, Gropius left his position as leader of the Bauhaus and was succeeded by Swiss architect, Hannes Meyer. Meyer was an unfit leader due to political disagreements with the school and was dismissed in 1930. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe then took over as director of the Bauhaus, who eventually turned the institution into a private academy in Berlin in 1932. The Nazis officially closed the Berlin’s institution’s doors in 1933.

Proponents of the Bauhaus school wished to articulate contemporary culture through the creation of new forms that were designed for everyday living. Bauhaus buildings characteristically have flat roofs, smooth facades, and cubic shapes. The colors preferred were white, gray, beige, and black. The buildings’ floor plans are usually open in design and the furniture is functional. The Bauhaus Style was used in the production of lamps, chairs and other household items, and also spread into fields such as typography and theater.

After the school’s closing in 1933, many of its artists moved to the United States in hopes of finding the freedom to pursue their own artistic expression. In the United States, leaders Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe among others, helped to spread Bauhaus architecture. It was re-named the International Style after the book written under the same title by historian and critic Henry-Russell Hitchcock and architect Philip Johnson. The book was published in 1932 at the same time an introductory exhibition was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In America, the International Style became a symbol of capitalism rather than social reformation and was the favored style for office buildings and upscale homes. One of the most famous examples of the International Style is the Seagram Building in New York.

Artists: (biography & artworks)

Albers, Josef - 1888 - 1976
Feininger, Lyonel - 1871 - 1956
Albers, Josef - 1888 - 1976
Feininger, Lyonel - 1871 - 1956

 

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Last updated and verified on: Tue 22 Sep 2009 11:29:17 AM EDT

 

 

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