Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Bauhaus Turns 100

“If today's arts love the machine, technology and organization, if they aspire to precision and reject anything vague and dreamy, this implies an instinctive repudiation of chaos and a longing to find the form appropriate to our times.” - Oskar Schlemmer, German Bauhaus artist

April 12, 2019 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the German art school known as Bauhaus. Founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar, the Bauhaus movement combined crafts with fine arts to create the most highly influential modernist school of art of the 20th century.

According to the website The Art Story,
The Bauhaus was influenced by 19th and early-20th-century artistic directions such as the Arts and Crafts movement, as well as Art Nouveau and its many international incarnations, including the Jugendstil and Vienna Secession. All of these movements sought to level the distinction between the fine and applied arts, and to reunite creativity and manufacturing; their legacy was reflected in the romantic medievalism of the Bauhaus ethos during its early years, when it fashioned itself as a kind of craftsmen's guild. But by the mid-1920s this vision had given way to a stress on uniting art and industrial design, and it was this which underpinned the Bauhaus's most original and important achievements. The school is also renowned for its extraordinary faculty, who subsequently led the development of modern art - and modern thought - throughout Europe and the United States.

When the Nazis took over in 1933 they proceeded to shut down the Bauhaus schools in Germany. Afterwards, several major Bauhaus leaders fled to the US. In 1933, the Jewish-born Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy formed what later would become the Institute of Design in Chicago. Walter Gropius relocated to the US in 1937 and taught at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. That same year Mies van der Rohe also came to the US and became director of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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