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Colin Rhodes

(b Berlin, Oct 5, 1887; d Bad Liebenzell, nr Stuttgart, Nov 14, 1975).

German painter. He studied under Henry Van de Velde at the School of the Fine Arts and Arts and Crafts of the Grand Duchy of Saxony (later the Bauhaus, Weimar) (1906–7), and under Franz von Stuck at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich (1909–10). He worked under Adolf Hölzel at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart from 1912, and by 1918 he had produced his first non-objective works under the influence of the latter. Although primarily an abstract painter he was briefly involved with Magic Realism in the 1920s. He devised a type of colour abstraction, which he called ‘Absolute Painting’, and in 1930 he founded a ‘Seminar for Absolute Painting’ at the Volkshochschule in Stuttgart. Works such as Painting XII (1949; Berlin, Alte N.G.) relied heavily on a body of theory derived mainly from Hölzel and the colour theories of Goethe.

L. Langenfeld...

Article

Article

[Bronstein, Max]

(b Tuchów, Poland, July 13, 1896; d Jerusalem, June 18, 1992).

Israeli painter of Polish birth. As a young boy he greatly admired El Greco, Goya and Rembrandt. From 1920 to 1925 he studied at the Bauhaus, Weimar, under Klee, Kandinsky, Johannes Itten and Lyonel Feininger and the following year studied painting techniques at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich under Max Doerner. During the 1920s he changed his name from Max Bronstein to Mordecai Ardon. He taught at the Kunstschule Itten in Berlin from 1929 to 1933, when Nazi persecution forced him to flee to Jerusalem. Though he had been an active Communist in Germany, in Jerusalem he soon found a great affinity with Jewish religion and culture. In 1935 he was made a professor at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem, and was its Director from 1940 to 1952.

Ardon’s early paintings show the influence of Expressionism, as in Seated Woman in a Straw Chair...

Article

Barbara Barsch

[Koehler, Otto]

(b Blumenau, Brazil, Feb 6, 1904; d 1995).

German sculptor . He studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar under László Moholy-Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer from 1923 to 1924; he emigrated to Czechoslovakia in 1935, where he was co-founder and director of the Oskar-Kokoschka-Bund. He lived in London from 1939 to 1947 and then returned to Berlin, where he taught at the Hochschule für Bildende und Angewandte Kunst (1950–58). In East Germany Balden was seen as developing a modern idiom within the context of naturalism, somewhat in the manner of Henry Moore. Even his early works, such as Beaten Jew (1943) and Reminder (1946; both Berlin, Staatl. Museen, Neue N.G.), show his interest in expressive form and his liking for sculpture ‘containing space’. He always created socially-orientated works based on his own beliefs about the independence of the individual, as in the Karl Liebknecht monument (1968) in the Marktplatz, Luckau.

R. Hoffmann: Theo Balden...

Article

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

Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Haag, Austria, April 5, 1900; d Santa Barbara, CA, Sept 30, 1985).

American painter, designer, photographer and typographer, of Austrian birth. After serving in the Austrian army (1917–18), Bayer studied architecture under Professor Schmidthammer in Linz in 1919 and in 1920 worked with the architect Emanuel Margold in Darmstadt. From 1921 to 1923 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying mural painting (with Vasily Kandinsky) and typography; it was at this time that he created the Universal alphabet, consisting only of lowercase letters. In 1925 he returned to the Bauhaus, then in Dessau, as a teacher of advertising, layout and typography, remaining there until 1928. For the next ten years he was based in Berlin as a commercial artist: he worked as art manager of Vogue (1929–30) and as director of the Dorland advertising agency. Shortly after his first one-man exhibitions at the Galerie Povolotski, Paris, and at the Kunstlerbund März, Linz (both 1929), he created photomontages of a Surrealist nature, such as ...

Article

Marianne Lorenz

[Blauen Vier]

Name applied to a group of German painters, founded at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, on 31 March 1924. The group consisted of Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Alexei Jawlensky and Lyonel Feininger, who were formerly associated with the Blaue Reiter group. The idea for founding the Blue Four came from Galka Scheyer, a former pupil of Jawlensky, who sought to make the work and ideas of these artists better known in the USA through exhibitions, lectures and sales. While the Blue Four was not an official association, its name was chosen to give American audiences an idea about the type of artists involved and also to allude to the artists’ previous association with the Blaue Reiter group. In May 1924 Scheyer travelled to New York, where the first Blue Four exhibition took place at the Charles Daniel Gallery (Feb–March 1925). Scheyer then moved to California, where the first of many Blue Four exhibitions in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas took place at the Oakland Museum in autumn ...

Article

(b Chemnitz, Oct 1, 1893; d Kirchberg, June 18, 1983).

German metalworker and designer. One of the best-known of the Bauhaus metalworkers, she studied painting and sculpture at the Kunstakademie in Weimar (1911–14). Around 1923 she went to study at the Bauhaus in Weimar and on the advice of László Moholy-Nagy joined the metal workshop there. The development of her work parallels the philosophical developments at the Bauhaus, from the craft orientation of the Weimar period (1919–25) to the interest in technology and industrial design of the Dessau period (1925–33). Her early designs, for example the hand-crafted nickel-silver teapot (1924; see fig.) and brass and ebony tea-essence pot (1924; Berlin, Bauhaus-Archv), are based on pure geometrical forms—cylinders, spheres and hemispheres. Functional considerations are secondary to aesthetic concerns. Her later designs, particularly those for lighting fixtures, reflect the influence of Moholy-Nagy. Under his direction the metal workshop concentrated on producing prototypes for mass production (...

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

Erika Billeter

(b Buenos Aires, July 31, 1906; d Buenos Aires, June 18, 2012).

Argentine photographer. Having produced his first photographs in 1928, he studied in 1932 at the Bauhaus, Berlin, under the American photographer Walter Peterhans (1897–1960). There he met the German photographer Grete Stern, whom he was later to marry and with whom he started a studio for publicity photography in Buenos Aires in 1937. He established his name in 1936 with the publication of his book on Buenos Aires. He preferred to illustrate art books and was particularly interested in the ceramic culture of Peru and the sculpture of Rodin. Among his other publications were monographs on Stonehenge, Paestum and the Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum in Duisburg, and the volume De Fotografía (Buenos Aires, 1969).

Coppola, Horacio Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, 1936)Imagema: Antología fotográfica, 1927–1994 (Buenos Aires, [c.1994]) E. Billeter: Fotografie Lateinamerika (Zurich and Berne, 1981)S. Facio: La fotografía en la Argentina desde 1840 a nuestros días...

Article

Alexander Koutamanis

[Despo, Jan]

(b Chios, Jan 7, 1903; d Oct 1, 1992).

Greek architect, teacher and writer. He studied under Hannes Meyer at the Bauhaus, Weimar (1924–5), and at the Königliche Technische Hochschule, Hannover (1928), and worked for Erich Mendelsohn in Berlin. In the 1930s he was a major figure in Greek architecture, being the only architect to relate Modernism to socio-economic structures and to socialist views. In 1932 he was co-founder of the Greek group of CIAM. His pre-war buildings include three sanatoria: Sotiria (1934) in Holargos, Attica, one (1936–40) in Tripolis, Peloponnese, and one (1937–40) in Asvestochori, near Thessaloniki; these were the first buildings of this type in Greece to show the influence of Modernism. From 1942 to 1946 and 1961 to 1966 he was Professor of Architectural Composition at the National Technical University, Athens, the intervening years being spent in Sweden, where he taught at various universities. In 1959...

Article

Jeffrey R. Hayes, Dora Apel and Sheryl Conkelton

American family of artists. (1) Lyonel Feininger was active as a painter and printmaker in Germany from the 1890s to 1937 and was involved in the Bauhaus from its foundation. His sons (2) Andreas Feininger and (3) T. Lux Feininger also studied at the Bauhaus before eventually moving to the USA.

(b New York, July 17, 1871; d New York, Jan 13, 1956).

Painter, printmaker and illustrator. Although he was sent to Germany as a teenager to study music, a drawing class at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg instead sparked an interest in art, which led to further training at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and in 1892–3 at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. Returning to Berlin, he was a prominent illustrator by the mid-1890s for Ulk, Lustige Blätter and other leading German satirical magazines. His work also appeared in the USA, first for Harper’s Round Table in ...

Article

Peter Blundell Jones

Term applied to architecture in which the form of a building is derived from the function it is intended to fulfil. As employed by such historians as Nikolaus Pevsner and Siegfried Giedion, the term became generally identified with early 20th-century Modernism, for, like many of their architect contemporaries, they used it in justifying that style. It would, however, be hard to substantiate the claim that modern architecture is truly more functional than that of many other periods, particularly as it was impregnated with aesthetic and social concerns that sometimes conflicted directly with the requirements of use.

Even in the realm of theory modernists cannot claim any monopoly on functionalist ideas: A. W. N. Pugin claimed in his True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841) that ‘there should be no features about a building which are not necessary for construction, convenience or propriety’, defining propriety as the appropriate reflection of the internal arrangements in the exterior. Even though he applied them to Gothic examples, he drew his ideas from the French Neo-classical tradition, while the French reiterated theories borrowed from the Italian Renaissance. Thus functionalist ideas can be found 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

Anna Rowland

(b Frankfurt am Main, July 11, 1893; d Sydney, Jan 7, 1965).

German painter, printmaker and teacher, active in England and Australia. From 1912 to 1914 he attended the progressive school run by Wilhelm von Debschitz in Munich and studied art history at Munich University. His training was then interrupted for four and a half years by military service. In 1919 he enrolled at Adolf Hölzel’s pioneering academy in Stuttgart. Hölzel communicated to his pupils, who also included Johannes Itten and Oskar Schlemmer, his interest in abstract formal relationships and colour contrasts. At this time Hirschfeld-Mack is known to have been working in the style of the German Expressionists.

In October 1919, attracted by Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus Manifesto, Hirschfeld-Mack enrolled at the Weimar Bauhaus. After taking the Vorkurs devised by Itten, he enrolled in the printing workshop, where he soon emerged as one of the most important apprentices. He worked closely with the Form Master, Lyonel Feininger, helping to prepare Zwölf Holzschnitte von Lyonel Feininger...

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Südern-Linden, Nov 11, 1888; d Zurich, May 25, 1967).

Swiss painter, textile designer, teacher, writer and theorist. He trained first as a primary school teacher in Berne (1904–6), where he became familiar with progressive educational and psychoanalytical ideas. He was, however, interested in art and music, and in 1909 he decided to become a painter. He enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva but was so disappointed that he returned to teacher training in Berne. He read widely and developed an interest in religion and mystic philosophy. After qualifying he returned to Geneva and greatly enjoyed the course on the geometric elements of art run by the Swiss painter Eugène Gilliard (1861–1921). After travelling in Europe, in 1913 Itten went to Stuttgart to study at the academy of Adolf Hölzel, a pioneer of abstraction who was also convinced of the importance of automatism in art. Greatly impressed, Itten absorbed his teaching on colour and contrast and his analyses of Old Masters paintings. Encouraged by Hölzel, he made abstract collages incorporating torn paper and cloth....

Article

Vivian Endicott Barnett

[Vassily; Wassily] (Vasil’yevich)

(b Moscow, Dec 4, 1866; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Dec 13, 1944).

Russian painter, printmaker, stage designer, decorative artist and theorist. A central figure in the development of 20th-century art and specifically in the transition from representational to abstract art, Kandinsky worked in a wide variety of media and was an important teacher and theoretician. He worked mainly outside Russia, but his Russian heritage continued to be an important factor in his development.

Kandinsky grew up in Odessa and from 1886 to 1893 studied economics, ethnography and law in Moscow, where he wrote a dissertation on the legality of labourers’ wages. He married his cousin Anya Shemyakina in 1892 (divorced 1911). In 1896 Kandinsky decided to become an artist and went to Munich. There he studied from 1896 to 1898 at the art school of Anton Ažbe, where he met Alexei Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin, and then in 1900 at the Akademie with Franz von Stuck. The following year he was a co-founder of the ...

Article

Ann Temkin

(b Münchenbuchsee, nr Berne, Dec 18, 1879; d Muralto, nr Locarno, June 29, 1940).

Swiss painter, draughtsman, printmaker, teacher, and writer. Klee’s work forms a major contribution to the history of 20th-century art. He is associated most commonly with the Bauhaus school in Weimar and Dessau. He is regarded as a major theoretician among modern artists and as a master of humour and mystery. In much of his work, he aspired to achieve a naive and untutored quality, but his art is also among the most cerebral of any of the 20th century (e.g. Disturbance, 1934; Turin, Gal. A. Mod.). Klee’s wide-ranging intellectual curiosity is evident in an art profoundly informed by structures and themes drawn from music, nature, and poetry.

Klee was brought up in Berne, where his father was a music teacher. As a boy, he displayed great talent both as a violinist and as a draughtsman. On leaving school he decided to study art in Munich, first with ...

Article

Daniela De Dominicis

(b Rome, Jan 28, 1935; d Marseille, Sept 21, 1963).

Italian painter, sculptor and urban planner. In 1955 he obtained his diploma at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and began studying architecture, heavily influenced by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus and De Stijl. He started work as an industrial designer in 1958. He also began to execute works devoted to the study of the dynamic qualities of light in space, which some people have seen as a forerunner of conceptual art and Minimalism. Lo Savio’s first monochrome paintings, based on the study of chromatic transparency, date from 1959 (e.g. Space-Light, Leverkusen, Schloss Morsbroich) as do his Filters series, which comprised layers of opaque and semi-transparent paper squares and circles. Works of this sort were shown in the same year in a group exhibition with Franco Angeli, Tano Festa, Mario Schifano (b 1934) and Giuseppe Uncini at the Galleria L’Appunto in Rome, and in 1960 at the Galleria La Salita in Rome with an exhibition catalogue prefaced by the French critic ...