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Bauhaus  

Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...

Article

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

After the closure in 1933 of the Bauhaus in Berlin, its staff and students dispersed. Many found their way to the USA, where they became highly influential teachers as well as artists and architects. The pedagogical methods developed at the school, particularly in the preliminary course, became commonplace in all levels of art education, as the former centrality in America of life drawing to instruction in the visual arts was now challenged by experimentation with abstract principles of composition and the qualities of individual materials.

Josef and Anni Albers family were the first Bauhäusler to immigrate to the USA. They arrived in 1933 and quickly took up positions at Black Mountain College, NC. In 1950 Josef became chair of the department of design at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from which he retired in 1958. His increasingly rigorous investigations into geometry and colour culminated in a series of paintings entitled ...

Article

Anna Rowland

(Lajos)

(b Pécs, May 21, 1902; d New York, July 1, 1981).

American furniture designer and architect of Hungarian birth. In 1920 he took up a scholarship at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, but he left almost immediately to find a job in an architect’s office. A few weeks later he enrolled at the Bauhaus at Weimar on the recommendation of the Hungarian architect Fred Forbat (1897–1972). Breuer soon became an outstanding student in the carpentry workshop, which he led in its endeavours to find radically innovative forms for modern furniture. In practice, this meant rejecting traditional forms, which were considered symbolic of bourgeois life. The results of these experiments were initially as idiosyncratic as those of other workshops at Weimar, including the adoption of non-Western forms, for example the African chair (1921; see Rowland, 1990, p. 66) and an aggressively castellated style inspired by Constructivism.

Breuer was impressed by De Stijl, whose founder Theo van Doesburg made his presence felt in Weimar in ...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

(Adolf Georg)

(b Berlin, May 18, 1883; d Boston, MA, July 5, 1969).

American architect, industrial designer and teacher of German birth. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of the Modern Movement, whose contribution lay as much in his work as theoretician and teacher as it did in his innovative architecture. The important buildings and projects in Gropius’s career—the early factories, the Bauhaus complex at Dessau (1925–6), the Totaltheater project for Berlin, the housing estates and prefabricated dwellings—were all more than immediate answers to specific problems. Rather, they were a series of researches in which he sought prototypical solutions that would offer universal applicability. They were also didactic in purpose—concrete demonstrations, manifestos, of his theories and beliefs. His theories sought to integrate the individual and society, art and industry, form and function and the part with the whole. He left Germany for England in 1934; three years later he emigrated to the USA, where he continued to teach, write and design for the rest of his life....

Article

Martina Rudloff

(b Berlin, Feb 18, 1889; d Burgbrohl, nr Cologne, Nov 13, 1981).

German sculptor, potter, draughtsman and printmaker. He first sculpted animals while studying under Richard Scheibe (from 1907), and in 1910 modelled animals for the Schwarzburg Porcelain Factory. After World War I his interest in classicism gave way to the influence of Expressionism and of the Sturm artists, as part of a search for a new spirituality. This new style of work can be seen in Woman Suckling (gold-plated limewood relief, 1919; Bremen, Marcks-Haus). Walter Gropius, who founded the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1919, asked Marcks to establish a ceramics workshop for the school in the nearby village of Dornburg. With his students he set out to create a Bauhaus ceramics ethic of simplicity and honesty of design as determined by the materials used and the function of the object. In stylistic terms he combined geometry with a local pottery tradition. He was also inspired by Lyonel Feininger to make woodcuts of rural genre themes....

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Basle, Nov 18, 1889; d Savosa, Ticino, July 19, 1954).

Swiss architect, theorist and designer. He was born into a family of architects and studied building at the Gewerbeschule, Basle (1905–9). In Berlin he continued his training at the Kunstgewerbeschule and attended classes in urban planning at the Landwirtschafts-Akademie (1909–12). He became increasingly concerned about housing conditions in the modern industrial city and developed a strong interest in urban planning and land reform. In 1912 he went to England where he studied the Co-operative movement and the garden cities of Letchworth, Bourneville and Port Sunlight for a year. After two years’ military service in Switzerland (1914–16), he worked for Krupps Housing Welfare Office and became increasingly interested in using standardized components in the construction of housing estates. In 1919 he set up his own practice in Basle, where he designed and supervised the foundation of the Siedlung Freidorf (Freihof) (1919–24) at Muttenz, near Basle, the first full-scale cooperative housing estate in Switzerland. The client (Verband Schweizerische Konsumvereine) rejected the Constructivist approach that Meyer favoured, so he developed a style based on local Jura building types. In ...

Article

Peter Carter

(b Aachen, March 27, 1886; d Chicago, IL, Aug 17, 1969).

German architect, furniture designer, and teacher, active also in the USA. With Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier, he was a leading figure in the development of modern architecture. His reputation rests not only on his buildings and projects but also on his rationally based method of architectural education.

He was born Ludwig Mies but later adopted his mother’s name, van der Rohe. The son of a master stone mason, Mies van der Rohe had no formal architectural education. He attended the Domschule in Aachen until 1900 and then the local trade school (1900–02) while working on building sites for his father, from whom he acquired a respect for the nature of building materials. The town’s many fine medieval buildings stimulated a youthful interest in architecture, and their characteristically clear and honest construction exerted a lasting influence upon his creative work. Two years as a draughtsman and designer for a firm specializing in stucco decoration followed, before he left for Berlin in ...