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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

Iain Boyd Whyte

(b Hamburg, April 14, 1868; d Berlin, Feb 27, 1940).

German architect, designer and painter. Progressing from painting and graphics to product design and architecture, Behrens achieved his greatest successes with his work for the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), in which he reconciled the Prussian Classicist tradition with the demands of industrial fabrication.

After attending the Realgymnasium in Altona, he began his painting studies in 1886 at the Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe. From there he moved to Düsseldorf, where he studied with Ferdinand Brütt. In December 1889 Behrens married Lilli Krämer, and the following year the couple moved to Munich, where he continued his studies with Hugo Kotschenreiter (1854–1908). Behrens was one of the founder-members of the Munich Secession (see Secession, §1) in 1893 and, shortly afterwards, a founder of the more progressive Freie Vereinigung Münchener Künstler, with Otto Eckmann, Max Slevogt, Wilhelm Trübner and Lovis Corinth. He also joined the circle associated with the magazine Pan, which included Otto Julius Bierbaum, Julius Meier-Graefe, Franz Blei, Richard Dehmel and Otto Eckmann....

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 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

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Peg Weiss

(b Kilchberg, Switzerland, May 23, 1862; d Munich, Feb 26, 1927).

Swiss artist, craftsman and teacher. After studying science and medicine at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (1885–7), he travelled in England and Scotland in 1887. There the Arts and Crafts Movement influenced his decision to turn his attentions to the applied arts. Following brief studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Karlsruhe and an apprenticeship as a potter, his ceramics and furniture won gold medals at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. In 1890 he studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, before visiting Berlin and Florence, where he experimented in marble sculpture and established an embroidery studio in which his own designs could be carried out; he moved his studio to Munich in 1894.

In April 1896 an exhibition in Munich at the Galerie Littauer of 35 embroideries designed by Obrist and executed by Berthe Ruchet attracted considerable critical acclaim, with commentators referring to the birth of a new applied art. To further his artistic ideals Obrist founded the ...

Article

Michael Spens

(b Berlin, April 30, 1869; d Berlin, June 14, 1936).

German architect, designer and teacher. He was the father-figure of the Expressionist group of the Deutscher Werkbund, his vision and practical genius representing a link between the English Arts and Crafts Movement and later stages of Jugendstil and the fervour of the emerging Modern Movement after World War I. Poelzig studied architecture (1889–94) at the Technische Hochschule, Berlin, under Carl Schäfer, a neo-Gothicist. After military service and a period in the Prussian Office of Works, he left Berlin in 1900 to take a teaching post in the Königliche Kunst- und Kunstgewerbeschule, Breslau (now Wrocław), becoming its director from 1903 to 1916. There he introduced workshop-based courses that influenced the later teaching policy of Walter Gropius at the Bauhaus. Poelzig’s early buildings included two houses, one at an exhibition of applied art (1904) in Breslau and his own house (1906) at Leerbeutel, near Breslau. Both are examples of the influence in Germany at that time of English Arts and Crafts houses. Rough-cast rendering divided into rectilinear panels by smooth bands characterized his own house and also appeared in his evangelical church (...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Brooklyn, New York, Aug 11, 1927; d Pound Ridge, NY, Jan 24, 2006).

American art historian and museum curator. Rubin has been credited with defining the historical narrative of modern art through his writings and exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the 1970s, and 1980s. The vision of founding director Alfred H(amilton) Barr to establish the Museum of Modern Art as a global authority in modern paintings and sculpture was continued during Rubin’s tenure as Director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art (1973–88).

William was one of three sons of a successful New York textile merchant. Rubin grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York and attended Fieldstone School where he interned on special museum education projects with teacher and mentor Victor D’Amico who was also Director of Education at the Museum of Modern Art. While at Columbia University he joined the military during World War II to serve in the American occupation forces in Europe. Upon completing his undergraduate degree in ...

Article

Simone Rümmele

(b Purmerend, Aug 5, 1899; d Goldach, Switzerland, Feb 23, 1986).

Dutch architect, urban planner, designer, theorist and teacher. He was a leading figure in the Modern Movement, and his experiments in minimum expenditure of material and effort for the maximum social benefit were highly influential in the 1920s and 1930s. After serving an apprenticeship as a joiner, he attended a seminar for drawing teachers at the Rijksnormaalschool voor Tekenonderwijs in Amsterdam from 1917 to 1919, obtaining a diploma. He trained during the vacations in the office of J. M. van der Meij, gaining his first experience in architecture, and from 1919 to 1922 in the office of Marinus Jan Granpré Molière in Rotterdam. During this period he met the Swiss architects Hans Schmidt and Werner Moser, and in 1920 he joined the avant-garde architects’ association Opbouw, De. In 1922 he moved to Berlin, where he worked as a draughtsman with Werner von Walthausen (1887–1958), Max Taut and Hans Poelzig. There he also produced his project (...

Article

( Colomann )

(b Penzing, nr Vienna, July 13, 1841; d Vienna, April 11, 1918).

Austrian architect, urban planner, designer, teacher and writer. He was one of the most important architects of the 19th and 20th centuries—in 1911 Adolf Loos called him ‘the greatest architect in the world’—and a key figure in the development of 20th-century European architecture. His work, spread over more than half a century, embodies the transition from mid-19th-century historicism to the earliest expressions of 20th-century Modernism. Wagner was an influential teacher and theorist, and in addition to his executed work he designed and published more than 100 ambitious schemes, the last volume of his Einige Skizzen being published posthumously in 1922; this long series of often fantastic but always highly pragmatic and carefully thought out projects included urban plans, museums, academies, parliament buildings and public monuments.

After studying at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna from 1857 to 1860 and spending a short period at the Bauakademie in Berlin, where he became familiar with the work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Wagner studied from ...