02 September 2016

Harvard makes massive Bauhaus collection available for free

Bauhaus Weimar, on http://www.TheModernistAngle.com by Tobias Kaiser

The historic German Bauhaus is considered the most influential school of art, design and architecture of the 20th century. The school, founded by architect Walter Gropius in Weimar/Germany but without an architecture department at the beginning, was active only a mere 14 years, from 1919 to 1933, when the Nazis forced its closure.

It is renowned for its faculty, which included not only architects such as Gropius, Ludwig Mies (who added the fictitious “van der Rohe” to his surname) and Marcel Breuer, but also artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Josef Albers, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee and Johannes Itten.

When the Nazis came to power, they considered the Bauhaus a centre of communist intellectualism, and through constant harassment brought the then-leadership under Mies to shut the school down.

But by trying to silence "suspicious thinking", the Nazis accomplished exactly the opposite: many of the staff and students left Germany and spread the Bauhaus concepts and artistic ideas all over the world.

Gropius saw the writing on the wall early and fled to the US, together with his protegé Marcel Breuer, where they began to teach at Harvard.

With Gropius’ help, Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger museum started a massive collection containing over 30,000 Bauhaus-related objects, from paintings, textiles, and photographs to periodicals and class notes the collection now available for free. Incredibly, most any object from the collection can also be requested for in-person viewing in the museums’ Art Study Center.

The Harvard Bauhaus-site itself is tempting enough to get lost in time for several months: it contains “Chronology: Introducing the Bauhaus”, a section “Holdings: What Makes Up the Collection”, an essay “The Bauhaus and Harvard”, and a rich resources section.

Planning a visit to Boston? Well, now you may.

Photo: Mewes/https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=165180

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