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Bauhaus

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Bauhaus



The Bauhaus was the first international art school to be founded after the First World War in the new Republic. It was run by Walter Gropius. The school was a direct successor of the "Deutscher Werkbund", the most successful and important combination of art and economy before the First World War, which had been founded in 1907. Within three years Gropius managed to attract a large circle of avant-garde artists to the Bauhaus, all of whom were already internationally recognised. The list of names of the first teachers - who were called "Meister" at the Bauhaus - is indeed impressive: Lyonel Feininger, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Gerhard Marcks and Oskar Schlemmer. The school's early years are referred to in art history as "Expressionist Bauhaus". The term refers to the fact that the teachers of the free art classes, and particularly Johannes Itten, conveyed a mystical image of the world with an emphasis on human creativity rather than rationalism and profitability. The Bauhaus doctrine in general was based on the idea of a Gesamtkunstwerk. This Gesamtkunstwerk was to be produced by a group of connected workshops modelled on medieval Masonic lodges. The first phase of the Bauhaus was determined by the terms "community, crafts and architecture". During the second phase, from 1922, "type and function, technique and industry" were more important. For political reasons the Bauhaus had to move to Dessau in 1924. Four years later, in 1928, Walter Gropius resigned from his post as the director of the Bauhaus. He was succeeded by Hannes Meyer, who introduced new workshops for photography, sculpture and psychology. Hannes Meyer was forced to resign in 1930 because he had been supporting communist students. Walter Gropius' suggestion that Mies van der Rohe become the new director was accepted. Van der Rohe radically altered the curriculum: he combined the workshops and the department of architecture and renamed them "Bau und Ausbau" (architecture and interior decoration), Advertising, Photography and Weaving.
The success of the National Socialists in 1933 meant the final closure of the Bauhaus. Mies van der Rohe did try to continue the Bauhaus as a private institution in Berlin, but the Gestapo forced the Bauhaus to dissolve on 20th July 1933.