modernism in art

late impressionism through surrealism

The Bauhaus

readings:

• SH essay, The Bauhaus: An Introduction

• SH video, Lionel Feininger, Cathedral for Program of the State Bauhaus in Weimar

• SH essay, The Bauhaus: Marianne Brandt

• SH essay, The Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer

• SH essay, The Bauhaus and Bau


key terms and concepts: Vorkurs, functionalism, rationalism, formalism

The Bauhaus (1919-1933) was an art, design, and architecture school that has had an enormous influence on the types of products and architecture with which we are surrounded today, as well as on the basic curriculum of art and design education.

• What was the aim of the first-year Vorkurs (or Vorlehre)? What kinds of exercises did they do? How did these exercises attempt to teach the basic elements and materials of design, and the properties of materials? How did such explorations influence the works below?

• How did the Bauhaus change its curriculum from an expressionist, hand-made craft orientation, towards one focused on industrial mass production?

• Be able to list and define the four key principles of Bauhaus design: functionalism, rationalism, formalism, and design for manufacture.

• How do each of the products and buildings below exhibit these four qualities?  In the ideal scenario, all these qualities will intersect (when, for example, a rational shape is also functional and easy to manufacture), but occasionally compromises need to be made, in which case functionalism usually trumps the others:  be able to analyze any of the works below along these lines.

• What does the 'Bau' in Bauhaus mean? How did the Bauhaus curriculum ultimately aim toward the design of total living and working environments, from the plan of the building to the design of the chairs, carpets, and soup spoons?  Be able to discuss the Haus am Horn, below, as one such experimental total Bauhaus domestic environment; and in general recognize the way in which Bauhaus design continues to directly or indirectly permeate the environments in which we live and work, and the structure of art and design education.

Herbert Bayer, Bauhaus exhibition poster, 1923

Marianne Brandt, Tea Pot, 1924

Marcel Breuer, Chair B33, 1927-28

(Various Bauhaus artists and designers), The Haus am Horn living room (above) and kitchen (below), 1923