The Bauhaus

The underlying idea of the Bauhaus was to create a new unity of crafts, art and technology. The intention was to offer the right environment for the realization of the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art). To this end, promising artists were to be taught in a school with an interdisciplinary and international orientation. The Bauhaus curriculum therefore offered a unique combination of research, teaching and practice that was unequaled by rival academies and schools of applied art.

The originator of this concept was Walter Gropius, the founder and first director of the Bauhaus. In his founding manifesto of 1919, he responded to the contemporary art scene – whose products he considered to be uninspired “salon” art based on the division of labour – with the conscious “collaboration and interaction of all craftsmen”. The Gropius manifesto is distinguished by an educational rather than a constructional or technical vision and focuses on the young, still malleable artist. “When the young person senses the love for creative activity within himself just as he starts on the path to learning a craft, then the unproductive ’artist‘ will no longer be damned to the imperfect practice of art.”

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus


The goal of combining art and craftsmanship, which Gropius modelled on the collaboration of the guilds at the masons’ guilds of the medieval cathedrals, was the creation of the Gesamtkunstwerk. Realising works of art created through the collaboration of the fine arts and the dramatic arts, as well as music, was to produce a work that is not limited to its purely aesthetic meaning, but supports and even influences the transformation of social reality and thus shapes a new society. Just as the masons’ guilds made the construction of cathedrals possible in the first place, the Bauhaus was to see itself as an experimental laboratory for the building of the future. The fact that Gropius would invoke a new unity of art and technology four years later was not to change this basic idea.

As different as the art genres, styles and formative personalities were, the historic Bauhaus remained a synergetic project up to its dissolution by the National Socialists. In this sense, the often erroneously cited “Bauhaus style” never existed. The historic Bauhaus from 1919 to 1933 was bound by its programmatic content, where diverse styles ranging from Expressionism to New Objectivity were combined to maximum intensity.

The Bauhaus

Walter Gropius

Teaching

Studies at the Bauhaus began with the obligatory preliminary course, which taught methods for working with creative materials using a new and sometimes experimental educational approach. This was followed by training in the workshops, which largely dispensed with the division between theory and practice. The ultimate educational goal was to apply all the acquired knowledge to the building.

Idea

Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus, aspired to create a new unity of crafts, art and technology in a school with an international and interdisciplinary orientation. Its ultimate goal was the building as a Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art). With an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to art education, the idea was to furnish young artists with the theoretical and practical knowledge required to meet the challenges of the new age.

The Bauhaus

Mies van der Rohe D42 Bauhaus Chair

Teaching

Studies at the Bauhaus began with the obligatory preliminary course, which taught methods for working with creative materials using a new and sometimes experimental educational approach. This was followed by training in the workshops, which largely dispensed with the division between theory and practice. The ultimate educational goal was to apply all the acquired knowledge to the building.

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus

Life and Art

The small international school rapidly made a name for itself. It had an active political and cultural life that integrated all of the arts. Modern lifestyles were tested, women were allowed to study outside of the women’s classes and a libertarian approach prevailed. The parties celebrated on Walter Gropius’s birthday and other occasions were legendary.

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus

Workshops

The core of the educational curriculum was the apprenticeship in the workshops, which offered a broad spectrum of courses including glass painting, carpentry, ceramics, metalwork, stagecrafts, typography, photography and advertising. The workshops were initially headed by a team of two: a craftsman as a master of works and an artist as a master of form, thus guiding art and technology towards a new unity. The ultimate educational goal was to apply all the acquired knowledge to the building.

2017 History of Graphic Design

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