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  • 7/31/2004
The Bauhaus Movement

The origins of the Bauhaus movement of modern art and architecture date back to the controversial new school of arts and crafts which was established in Weimar in 1902 by the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde. Another art school had already been founded in 1860 which was also the subject of disputes. The pioneering architect Walter Gropius combined both schools into the Staatliches Bauhaus onApril 1, 1919 to start the Bauhaus movement which spread around the world. In 1919,Weimar had become the center of new social and political ideas when the city was chosen as the place for the writing of the constitution of the new Republic proclaimed by the Social Democrats on Nov. 9, 1918.

The central idea behind the teaching at the Bauhaus was productive workshops. The Bauhaus contained a carpenter"s workshop, a metal workshop, a pottery in Dormburg, facilities for painting on glass, mural painting, weaving, printing, wood and stone sculpting. The Bauhaus architecture featured functional design, as opposed to the elaborate Gothic architecture of Germany. Famous modern artists like Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Kandinsky were invited to lecture at the school.

Pictured below is Walter Gropius the founder of the Bauhaus movement. Gropius was born inBerlin onMay 18, 1883 and died inBoston onJuly 5, 1969. Gropius left the Bauhaus in 1928, worked as an architect inBerlin, then moved to London in 1934. In 1937, he was appointed the head of the architecture department at Harvard University.

Walter Gropius, founder of Bauhaus school of architecture

Bauhaus Museum inWeimar has display of modern furniture

Rug on display in Bauhaus Museum

At number 8 Geschwister-Scholl Strasse, is the Hochschule für Architektur and Bauwesen, which is the school for modern architecture and construction. At the present time, it has approximately 3,000 students. The school is located in a seedy area ofWeimar which would have to be described truthfully as a slum; the neighborhood is a testament to the failure of Communism inEast Germany. The yellow house where Franz Liszt lived is just around the corner. All the famous buildings in Weimar are painted yellow, as though the town had a paint sale. I was told that the yellow color is taken from the leaves of the ginkgo tree in the fall. Weimar has many ginkgo trees, which were introduced by Goethe, who was a naturalist as well as a poet and writer.

This school goes back to the Art School founded in 1860 and directed by Stanislaus Graf von Kalckreuth (1820 - 1894). In 1907, it was combined with theCollege ofArts and Crafts founded by Henry van de Velde and continued by Walter Gropius as the Staatliches Bauhaus in 1919. In 1925 it became theCollege of Trades and Architecture after the Bauhaus architects were run out of town by the right wing conservatives.

The school reopened as the State College of Architecture and Fine Arts in 1946 after the occupation ofWeimar by the Communists. The Fine Arts was dropped in 1951. Between 1950 and 1962, the school included classes for the Communist workers and farmers in addition to building trades classes.

The main building, pictured below, was built in 1911; it was designed by van de Velde.

College of Architecture, Building and Construction in Weimar


Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944),In the Gray, 1919, oil on canvas, 129 x 176 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris

Wassily Kandinsky, Kleine Welten, IV, 1922, colorlithograph, 10 1/4 x 10 inches (26.6 x 25.5 cm), Cincinnati Art Museum, OH

Wassily Kandinsky,Swinging, 1925, oil on board, 70.5 x 50.2 cm, Tate Gallery, London. Kandinsky"s bookPoint and Line to Plane, published in 1926, explains the meanings he ascribed to the geometric imagery he put into such paintings asSwinging

Wassily Kandinsky,Lightly Touching (Leicht Berührt), 1931, oil on canvas, 27 5/8 x 19 1/4 inches (69.9 x 48.8 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY

Wassily Kandinsky,Soft Pressure, 1931, oil on plywood, 39 1/4 x 39 inches (99.5 x 99 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY

Paul Klee,Temple Gardens, 1920,gouache and traces of ink onpaper, 7 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches (18.4 x 26.7 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

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