The Bauhaus School

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The Bauhaus school was founded in Weimar by the German architect Walter Gropius in 1919 with a modern agenda that included the unification of the arts and the elimination of the distinction between artist and craftsperson. In an essay on the Bauhaus written in 1923, Gropius acknowledged the sources that shaped the foundation of the Bauhaus school, sources which included William Morris and John Ruskin in England, Henry Van der Velde in Belgium, as well as Peter Behrens and the Deutsche Werkbund in Germany. (Whitford: 12-14) This range of influences on the Bauhaus is reflected in the school’s evolving mission over the course of its fourteen year existence. The Bauhaus timeline can be divided into key periods: the Weimar Bauhaus from 1919-1924, …show more content…
He wished to retrieve from the notion of the guild an emphasis on craftsmen working towards a common goal. At the Bauhaus, which was born in the aftermath of the Great War, this meant “starting from nothing” as they set out to design a modern Germany. The Bauhütte influenced the name the school while also serving as a template for its structure. Masters replaced professors, and students were their apprentices and journeymen. The notion of the Bauhütte is best exemplified in the Gothic cathedral. This comprehensive work of art, architecture, and engineering was made possible by the collaboration between wood and stone carvers, stained glass makers, weavers, fresco painters, and other craftspeople with architects and masons (Whitford: 32). Gropius addressed this synthesis of disciplines in his 1919 Proclamation, stating that “the ultimate, if distant, aim of the Bauhaus is the unified work of art- the great structure- in which there is no distinction between monumental and decorative art” (Conrads: 50) This is also reflected in the choice for the cover of his manifesto, which shows a cathedral in the Expressionist style by Lionel Feininger (figure 1). The Weimar school’s early ideas, with its references to guild and cathedrals, could be traced back a half to the Arts & Crafts …show more content…
Gropius’s desire to house multiple disciplines under one roof echoed Morris’s atelier, which could produce a variety of fine crafts on commision, an axample being the Green Dining Room (figure 2) commissioned for the South Kensignton Museum (now the Royal Vitoria and Albert Museum). This was also echoed in the broader German movement to produce fine crafts on an industrial level that could compete with those seen in England. Here an important distinction must be made between Morris and Gropius: While Morris condemned machine made goods, Gropius wanted to integrate the arts and crafts with industry. After serving in the Great War, Gropius desired to “tame the machines of war for the benefit of man” after having witnessed the mass slaughter made possible by new technologies (Whitford 1994). His time spent in Berlin was another important influence. There he worked for Peter Behrens, an original member of the Deutsche Werkbund, a collective of individual artists and craftsmen sought to improve standards in design and industry. They implemented this in the design of major new industrial buildings (Naylor: 20) (figure 3). This was a new incarnation of the widespread desire to unite art and engineering

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