Bauhaus

DEFINITION

A design school founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, it had a curriculum that promoted reconciliation between aesthetics and utilitarianism. Followers asserted that art should be an intrinsic part of society, rather than set aside in an isolated sphere, and that applied art should be upgraded in educational status. In other words, applied or technical artists/artisans should be regular members of society and combine creativity and practicality. The name "Bauhaus" in German means 'Building House' in English. Gropius, speaking in terms of a "new, coming faith", was determined to establish a working partnership as well as philosophical link between artists and "Bauhutten", the masonry or building guilds in Germany. All Bauhaus students took a six-month introductory course to become familiar with form, color and nature of materials. Enrolled artists in the early years included Paul Klee, Laszlo Maholy-Nagy and Lyonel Feininger. In 1933, Hitler closed the school, which he viewed as a threat to Nazism and which from 1926 had been located in Dessau. The separation of theoretical and practical curriculum was abandoned with that move. Dessau teachers such as Josef Albers combined the subjects. The focus was on a community of artists working together, sharing ideas, with de-emphasis on teacher superiority over students. In 1926, Gropius left as did several others including Moholy-Nagy. Architect Hannes Meyer then ran the school until 1930, when Mies van der Rohe took over. In 1932, the Institute moved to Berlin, and the next year the school closed. However, Bauhaus methods continued to have widespread influence and were taken to America by Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers. In Chicago, Moholy-Nagy opened the New Bauhaus, later named the Institute of Design. In North Carolina, Josef Albers taught Bauhaus philosophy when he joined the staff of Black Mountain College. Sources: "Phaidon, Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art"

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