• Influential Art Movements

  • Bauhaus

  • United Disciplines
    The Bauhaus was many things: a physical campus, a method of working, and a style that radically changed the 20th century. Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus school in 1919 in Weimar, Germany. Unity of all artistic disciplines was the core principle. As lofty as it seemed, Gropius had a concrete plan. In his 1919 tract Proclamation of the Bauhaus, he laid out his vision of bringing together architecture, painting, design, and sculpture into a single movement. Students studied both design and fine art, and the all-star faculty (including Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky) helped this new wave of creatives form into an army of designers with a bold new vision.

  • By 1933, after two changes of location, the school closed it’s doors due to pressure from the Nazi government over fears that the Bauhaus had communists in its midst. But with the closing, students fled throughout Europe, spreading the ideals and aesthetic of the school with them.

    Key Features of the Bauhaus
    The Bauhaus is defined by form following function, abstract arts, and Geometric Forms. “Form follows function” is a key phrase for design in the 20th century, and it all began with the Bauhaus. This was perhaps the richest insight from combining disciplines like architecture with fine art.

  • Rather than being strictly utilitarian, however, this phrase really indicates that the function of an object is fundamental, with beauty arising out of its necessary features. This did not make form unimportant, but ensured that it never compromised function. The influence of early abstract art helps us understand how the Bauhaus conceived of beauty. Reducing paintings to the interaction of shapes, color, and composition brought new ways of creating. Looking at paintings by Bauhaus teacher Kandinsky, it’s easy to see where the mixture of curving lines and angled shapes that define the aesthetic came from.

“Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.” - Walter Groupius

  • Poster for Bauhausausstellung by Joost Schmidt, 1923

  • Mechanical stage design by Joost Schmidt, 1926

  • Bauhaus Ausstellung Weimar Juli by Herbert Bayer, 1923

  • Abstract art’s impact on the Bauhaus shows up everywhere — from posters to architecture. Reducing objects to simple geometric forms created a brand new visual language for many disciplines. Architects were liberated from the constraints of classicism and other traditional styles. Graphic designers were liberated from illustration and blocks of texts. Industrial designers were liberated from the long shadow of visual cues in arts and crafts. Within a couple of decades, this new approach could be seen throughout every field.

  • The Bauhaus left an indelible mark across the world. From the skyline of Tel Aviv (which boasts over 4,000 Bauhaus buildings) to the world of graphic design, the impact of the Bauhaus can still be seen today. It bled into New Typography and the Swiss style . It changed many forms of industrial design, with typewriters and chairs and virtually every other consumer good being reimagined at some point in the style.

  • Its effect on education might be even more important than its legacy in the physical design of buildings and furniture. By breaking down the doors between disciplines, the Bauhaus represents a vital point in Western civilization. Whereas fine arts and design once lived in separate worlds, they now overlap in conversation. Today, it seems like a natural match, but it was the Bauhaus that made it possible.

  • Influential Art Movements

  • Bauhaus

  • New Typography

  • Constructivism