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Marianne Brandt

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Marianne Brandt

*  1893 Chemnitz
† 1983 Halle a.d. Saale


The Bauhaus artist Marianne Brandt designed a great many objects during the few years she spent at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau. Still admired as icons of Bauhaus design are the Marianne Brandt teapot with sieve (1924) and some of the lamps she designed. Nevertheless, Marianne Brandt, unlike some of her Bauhaus colleagues, never succeeded in continuing her work as a freelance industrial designer. Marianne Brandt started out as a painter, studying from 1911 to 1918 at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst in Weimar, where she was taught by Professors Fritz Mackensen, Richard Engelmann, and Robert Weise. Marianne Brandt did a brief stint as a freelance painter before marrying the Norwegian painter Erik Brandt in Christiana in 1919. The couple lived in Norway and the South of France until 1922. In 1923 Marianne Brandt and her husband moved to Weimar but Erik Brandt returned alone to Norway that same year although the Brandts did not divorce until 1935. Abandoning painting, Marianne Brandt destroyed most of the paintings and drawings she had done. At the age of thirty-one, Marianne Brandt became a student at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1924. László Moholy-Nagy, who realized what a talented designer Marianne Brandt was and nurtured her gifts, admitted her to the metalworking workshop. The years 1924-1929 saw Marianne Brandt design numerous utilitarian objects and lamps. From 1926 Marianne Brandt was deputy head of the Bauhaus metalworking workshops. Collaborating with industrial enterprises, Marianne Brandt succeeded in launching some of her lamp designs on a mass-produced basis, mainly for the lighting firm of Körting & Mathiesen (Kandem) in Leipzig and also Schwintzer & Gräff in Berlin. After leaving the Bauhaus in 1929, Marianne Brandt was briefly employed in Walter Gropius' architecture practice in Berlin. Marianne Brandt designed mass-produced and modular furniture for the interiors of the public housing project in Karlsruhe-Dammerstock. Between 1929 and 1932 Marianne Brandt was head of the design division for the applied arts at the Ruppelwerke Metalware Factory in Gotha. In 1932 she returned to painting, living a retired life in Chemnitz. In 1949, Marianne Brandt was invited to teach at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste in Dresden and from 1951 to 1954 she taught at the East Berlin Institut für angewandte Kunst. In 1954 she returned to Chemnitz to spend the rest of her life.