Gropius - was a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School, who, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.
Gropius's career advanced in the postwar period. Henry van de Velde, the master of the Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar was asked to step down in 1915 due to his Belgian nationality. His recommendation for Gropius to succeed him led eventually to Gropius's appointment as master of the school in 1919. It was this academy which Gropius transformed into the world famous Bauhaus, attracting a faculty that included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Bartning and Wassily Kandinsky. One example product of the Bauhaus was the armchair F 51, designed for the Bauhaus's directors room in 1920 - nowadays a re-edition in the market, manufactured by the German company TECTA/Lauenfoerde.
In 1919, Gropius was involved in the Glass Chain utopian expressionist correspondence under the pseudonym "Mass." Usually more notable for his functionalist approach, the "Monument to the March Dead," designed in 1919 and executed in 1920, indicates that expressionism was an influence on him at that time.
In 1923, Gropius designed his famous door handles, now considered an icon of 20th-century design and often listed as one of the most influential designs to emerge from Bauhaus. He also designed large-scale housing projects in Berlin, Karlsruhe and Dessau in 1926-32 that were major contributions to the New Objectivity movement, including a contribution to the Siemensstadt project in Berlin.
Itten - was a Swiss expressionist painter, designer, teacher, writer and theorist associated with the Bauhaus (Staatliche Bauhaus) school. Together with German-American painter Lyonel Feininger and German sculptor Gerhard Marcks, under the direction of German architect Walter Gropius, Itten was part of the core of the Weimar Bauhaus.
From 1919 to 1922, Itten taught at the Bauhaus, developing the innovative "preliminary course" which was to teach students the basics of material characteristics, composition, and color. In 1920 Itten invited Paul Klee and Georg Muche to join him at the Bauhaus. He also published a book, The Art of Color, which describes these ideas as a furthering of Adolf Hölzel's color wheel. Itten's so called "color sphere" went on to include 12 colors. In 1924, Itten established the "Ontos Weaving Workshops" near Zurich, with the help of Bauhaus weaver Gunta Stölzl.
Itten was a follower of Mazdaznan, a fire cult originating in the United States that was largely derived from Zoroastrianism. He observed a strict vegetarian diet and practiced meditation as a means to develop inner understanding and intuition, which was for him the principal source of artistic inspiration and practice. Itten's mysticism and the reverence in which he was held by a group of the students, some of who converted to Mazdaznan (e.g. Georg Muche), created conflict with Walter Gropius who wanted to move the school in a direction that embraced mass production rather than solely individual artistic expression. The rift led to Itten's resignation from the Bauhaus and his prompt replacement by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in 1923. From 1926 to 1934 he had a small art and architecture school in Berlin, in which Ernst Neufert, the former chief-architect of Walter Gropius at the Bauhaus, taught as well from 1932 to 1934.
Feininger - was a German-American painter, and a leading exponent of Expressionism. He also worked as a caricaturist and comic strip artist.
Feininger started working as a fine artist at the age of 36. He was a member of the Berliner Sezession in 1909, and he was associated with German expressionist groups: Die Brücke, the Novembergruppe, Gruppe 1919, the Blaue Reiter circle and Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four). His first solo exhibit was at Sturm Gallery in Berlin, 1917. When Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in Germany in 1919, Feininger was his first faculty appointment, and became the master artist in charge of the printmaking workshop. From 1909 until 1921, Feininger spent summer vacations on the island of Usedom to recover and get new inspiration. He designed the cover for the Bauhaus 1919 manifesto: an expressionist woodcut 'cathedral'. He taught at the Bauhaus for several years. Among the students who attended his workshops were Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack (German/Australian (1893-1965), Hans Friedrich Grohs (German 1892 - 1981) and Margarete Koehler-Bittkow (German/American, 1898-1964).
When the Nazi Party came to power in 1933, the situation became unbearable for Feininger and his wife. The Nazi Party declared his work to be "degenerate." They moved to America after his work was exhibited in the 'degenerate art' (Entartete Kunst) in 1936, but before the 1937 exhibition in Munich. He taught at Mills College before returning to New York. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1955.
Schlemmer - was a German painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer associated with the Bauhaus school. In 1923 he was hired as Master of Form at the Bauhaus theatre workshop, after working some time at the workshop of sculpture. His most famous work is "Triadisches Ballett," in which the actors are transfigured from the normal to geometrical shapes. Also in Slat Dance and Treppenwitz, the performers' costumes make them into living sculpture, as if part of the scenery.
In 1919 Schlemmer turned to sculpture and had an exhibition of his work at the Gallery Der Sturm in Berlin. After his marriage to Helena Tutein in 1920, Schlemmer was invited to Weimar by Walter Gropius to run the mural-painting and sculpture departments at the Bauhaus School before heading up the theater workshop in 1923. His complex ideas were influential, making him one of the most important teachers working at the school at that time. However, due to the heightened political atmosphere in Germany at the end of the 1920s, and in particular with the appointment of the radical communist architect Hannes Meyer as Gropius's successor, in 1929 Schlemmer resigned his position and moved to take up a job at the Art Academy in Breslau.
Schlemmer became known internationally with the première of his 'Triadisches Ballett' in Stuttgart in 1922. His work for the Bauhaus and his preoccupation with the theatre are an important factor in his work, which deals mainly with the problematic of the figure in space. People, typically stylised female figures, continued to be the predominant subject in his painting. After using Cubism as a springboard for his structural studies, Schlemmer's work became intrigued with the possibilities of figures and their relationship to the space around them, for example 'Egocentric Space Lines' (1924). Schlemmer's characteristic forms can be seen in his sculptures as well as his paintings. Yet he also turned his attention to stage design, first getting involved with this in 1929, executing settings for the opera 'Nightingale' and the ballet 'Renard' by Igor Stravinsky.
Klee - was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, and is considered both a German and a Swiss[a] painter. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He was also a student of orientalism. Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually mastered color theory, and wrote extensively about it; his lectures Writings on Form and Design Theory (Schriften zur Form und Gestaltungslehre), published in English as the Paul Klee Notebooks, are considered so important for modern art that they are compared to the importance that Leonardo da Vinci's A Treatise on Painting had for the Renaissance. He and his colleague, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, both taught at the German Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture. His works reflect his dry humour and his sometimes childlike perspective, his personal moods and beliefs, and also his musicality.
Klee taught at the Bauhaus from January 1921 to April 1931. He was a "Form" master in the bookbinding, stained glass, and mural painting workshops and was provided with two studios. In 1922, Kandinsky joined the staff and resumed his friendship with Klee. Later that year the first Bauhaus exhibition and festival was held, for which Klee created several of the advertising materials. Klee welcomed that there were many conflicting theories and opinions within the Bauhaus: "I also approve of these forces competing one with the other if the result is achievement."
Kandinsky - was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely abstract works. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa. He enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics. Successful in his profession—he was offered a professorship (chair of Roman Law) at the University of Dorpat—he began painting studies (life-drawing, sketching and anatomy) at the age of 30.
In 1896 Kandinsky settled in Munich, studying first at Anton Ažbe's private school and then at the Academy of Fine Arts. He returned to Moscow in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I. Kandinsky was unsympathetic to the official theories on art in Moscow, and returned to Germany in 1921. There, he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He then moved to France where he lived the rest of his life, became a French citizen in 1939, and produced some of his most prominent art. He died at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944.
Kandinsky taught the basic design class for beginners and the course on advanced theory at the Bauhaus; he also conducted painting classes and a workshop in which he augmented his colour theory with new elements of form psychology. The development of his works on forms study, particularly on points and line forms, led to the publication of his second theoretical book (Point and Line to Plane) in 1926. Geometrical elements took on increasing importance in both his teaching and painting—particularly the circle, half-circle, the angle, straight lines and curves. This period was intensely productive. This freedom is characterised in his works by the treatment of planes rich in colours and gradations—as in Yellow - red - blue (1925), where Kandinsky illustrates his distance from the constructivism and suprematism movements influential at the time.
The two-meter-wide Yellow - red - blue (1925) consists of several main forms: a vertical yellow rectangle, an inclined red cross and a large dark blue circle; a multitude of straight (or sinuous) black lines, circular arcs, monochromatic circles and scattered, coloured checkerboards contribute to its delicate complexity. This simple visual identification of forms and the main coloured masses present on the canvas is only a first approach to the inner reality of the work, whose appreciation necessitates deeper observation—not only of forms and colours involved in the painting but their relationship, their absolute and relative positions on the canvas and their harmony.
Kandinsky was one of Die Blaue Vier (Blue Four), formed in 1923 with Klee, Feininger and von Jawlensky, which lectured and exhibited in the United States in 1924. Due to right-wing hostility, the Bauhaus left Weimar and settled in Dessau in 1925. Following a Nazi smear campaign the Bauhaus left Dessau in 1932 for Berlin, until its dissolution in July 1933. Kandinsky then left Germany, settling in Paris.
Moholy-Nagy - was a Hungarian painter and photographer as well as professor in the Bauhaus school. He was highly influenced by constructivism and a strong advocate of the integration of technology and industry into the arts.
Moholy-Nagy was born László Weisz in Bácsborsód to a Jewish-Hungarian family. His cousin was the conductor Sir Georg Solti. He attended Gymnasium (academic high school) in the city of Szeged. He changed his German-Jewish surname to the Magyar surname of his mother's Christian lawyer friend Nagy, who supported the family and helped raise Moholy-Nagy and his brothers when their Jewish father, Lipót Weisz left the family. Later, he added "Moholy" ("from Mohol") to his surname, after the name of the Hungarian town Mohol in which he grew up. One part of his boyhood was spent in the Hungarian Ada town, near Mohol in family house. In 1918 he formally converted to the Hungarian Reformed Church (Calvinist); his Godfather was his Roman Catholic university friend, the art critic Ivan Hevesy. Immediately before and during World War I he studied law in Budapest and served in the war, where he sustained a serious injury. In Budapest, on leaves and during convalescence, Moholy-Nagy became involved first with the journal Jelenkor ("The Present Age"), edited by Hevesy, and then with the "Activist" circle around Lajos Kassák's journal Ma ("Today"). After his discharge from the Austro-Hungarian army in October 1918, he attended the private art school of the Hungarian Fauve artist Róbert Berény. He was a supporter of the Communist Dictatorship (known as "Red Terror" and also "Hungarian Soviet Republic"), declared early in 1919, though he assumed no official role in it. After the defeat of the Communist Regime in August, he withdrew to Szeged. An exhibition of his work was held there, before he left for Vienna around November 1919. He left for Berlin early in 1920.
Bayer - was an Austrian and American graphic designer, painter, photographer, sculptor, art director, environmental and interior designer, and architect, who was widely recognized as the last living member of the Bauhaus and was instrumental in the development of the Atlantic Richfield Company's corporate art collection until his death in 1985.
Born in 1900, Bayer apprenticed under the artist Georg Schmidthammer in Linz. Leaving the workshop to study at the Darmstadt Artists' Colony, he became interested in Walter Gropius's Bauhaus manifesto. After Bayer had studied for four years at the Bauhaus under such teachers as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and László Moholy-Nagy, Gropius appointed Bayer director of printing and advertising.
In the spirit of reductive minimalism, Bayer developed a crisp visual style and adopted use of all-lowercase, sans serif typefaces for most Bauhaus publications. Bayer is one of several typographers of the period including Kurt Schwitters and Jan Tschichold who experimented with the creation of a simplified more phonetic-based alphabet. From 1925 to 1930 Bayer designed a geometric sans-serif Proposal for a Universal Typeface that existed only as a design and was never actually cast into real type. These designs are now issued in digital form as Bayer Universal. The design also inspired ITC Bauhaus and Architype Bayer, which bears comparison with the stylistically related typeface Architype Schwitters.
Albers - was a German-born American artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century.
Albers was born into a Roman Catholic family of craftsmen in Bottrop, Westphalia, Germany. He worked from 1908 to 1913 as a schoolteacher in his home town, where in 1918 he also received his first public commission, Rosa mystica ora pro nobis, a stained-glass window for a church. He studied art in Berlin, Essen, and Munich, before enrolling as a student in the basic course of Johannes Itten at the prestigious Weimar Bauhaus in 1920. Although Albers studied painting, it was as a maker of stained glass that he joined the faculty of the Bauhaus in 1922, approaching his chosen medium as a component of architecture and as a stand-alone art form. The director and founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, asked him in 1923 to teach in the preliminary course 'Werklehre' of the Department of Design to introduce newcomers to the principles of handicrafts, because Albers came from that background and had appropriate practice and knowledge. In 1925, Albers was promoted to Professor, the year the Bauhaus moved to Dessau. At this time, he married Anni Albers (née Fleischmann) who was also a student there. His work in Dessau included designing furniture and working with glass. As a younger art teacher, he was teaching at the Bauhaus with artists including Oskar Schlemmer, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Klee was the so-called form master who taught the formal aspects in the glass workshops where Albers was the crafts master; they cooperated for several years.
Breuer - was a Hungarian-born modernist, architect and furniture designer of Jewish descent. One of the masters of Modernism, Breuer displayed interest in modular construction and simple forms.
Known to his friends and associates as Lajkó, Breuer studied and taught at the Bauhaus in the 1920s. The Bauhaus curriculum stressed the simultaneous education of its students in elements of visual art, craft and the technology of industrial production. Breuer was eventually appointed to a teaching position as head of the school's carpentry workshop. He later practiced in Berlin, designing houses and commercial spaces. In the 1920s and 1930s, Breuer pioneered the design of tubular steel furniture. Later in his career he would also turn his attention to the creation of innovative and experimental wooden furniture.
Perhaps the most widely-recognized of Breuer's early designs was the first bent tubular steel chair, later known as the Wassily Chair, designed in 1925 and was inspired, in part, by the curved tubular steel handlebars on Breuer's Adler bicycle. Despite the widespread popular belief that the chair was designed for painter Wassily Kandinsky, Breuer's colleague on the Bauhaus faculty, it was not; Kandinsky admired Breuer's finished chair design, and only then did Breuer make an additional copy for Kandinsky's use in his home. When the chair was re-released in the 1960s, it was designated "Wassily" by its Italian manufacturer, who had learned that Kandinsky had been the recipient of one of the earliest post-prototype units.
Schmidt - was a teacher or master at the Bauhaus and later a professor at the College of Visual Arts, Berlin. He was a visionary typographer and graphic designer who is best known for designing the famous poster for the 1923 Bauhaus Exhibition in Weimar, Germany.
Stolzl - was a German textile artist who played a fundamental role in the development of the Bauhaus school's weaving workshop. As the Bauhaus's only female master she created enormous change within the weaving department as it transitioned from individual pictorial works to modern industrial designs. She joined the Bauhaus as a student in 1920, became a junior master in 1927 and a full master the next year. She was dismissed for political reasons in 1931, two years before the Bauhaus closed under pressure from the Nazis.
The textile department was a neglected part of the Bauhaus when Ms. Stölzl began her career, and its active masters were weak on the technical aspects of textile production. She soon became a mentor to other students and reopened the Bauhaus dye studios in 1921. After a brief departure, Stölzl became the school's weaving director in 1925 when it relocated from Weimar to Dessau and expanded the department to increase its weaving and dyeing facilities. She applied ideas from modern art to weaving, experimented with synthetic materials, and improved the department's technical instruction to include courses in mathematics. The Bauhaus weaving workshop became one of its most successful facilities under her direction.
In April 1925, the Weimar Bauhaus closed because it was seen as too leftist and was being rejected by the town. The school reopened in Dessau, although with considerably less funding. Stölzl, who had previously left the Bauhaus upon graduating to help Itten set up Ontos Weaving Workshops in Herrliberg, near Zurich, Switzerland, returned to become the weaving studio's technical director, replacing Helene Börner, and work with Georg Muche, who would remain the form master. Although she was not officially made a junior master until 1927, it was clear both the organization and content of the workshop were under her control. It was obvious from the start, the pairing of Muche and Stölzl was not enjoyed by either side, and resulted in Stölzl running the workshop almost single handedly from 1926 onward.
The new Dessau campus was equipped with a greater variety of looms and much improved dyeing facilities, which allowed Stölzl to create a more structured environment. Georg Muche brought in Jacquard looms to help intensify production. He saw this as especially important now as the workshops were the school's main source of funding for the new Dessau Bauhaus. The students rejected this and were not happy with the way Muche had used the schools funds. This, among other smaller events, instigated a student uprising within the weaving department. On March 31, 1927, despite some staff objections, Muche left the Bauhaus. With his departure, Stölzl took over both as form master and master crafts person of the weaving studio. She was assisted by many other key Bauhaus women, including Anni Albers, Otti Berger and Benita Otte.
Stölzl began trying to move weaving away from its 'woman's work' connotations by applying the vocabulary used in modern art, moving weaving more and more in the direction of industrial design. By 1928, the need for practical materials was highly stressed and experimentation with materials such as cellophane became more prominent. Stölzl quickly developed a curriculum which emphasized the use of handlooms, training in the mechanics of weaving and dyeing, and taught classes in math and geometry, as well as more technical topics such as weave techniques and workshop instruction. The earlier Bauhaus methods of artistic expression were quickly replaced by a design approach which emphasized simplicity and functionality.
Stölzl considered the workshop a place for experimentation and encouraged improvisation. She and her students, especially Anni Albers, were very interested in the properties of a fabric and in synthetic fibers. They tested materials for qualities such as color, texture, structure, resistance to wear, flexibility, light refraction and sound absorption. Stölzl believed the challenge of weaving was to create an aesthetic that was appropriate to the properties of the material. In 1930, Stölzl issued the first ever Bauhaus weaving workshop diplomas and set up the first joint project between the Bauhaus and the Berlin Polytex Textile company which wove and sold Bauhaus designs. 1In 1931 she published an article entitled "The Development of the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop", in the Bauhaus Journal spring issue. Stölzl's ability to translate complex formal compositions into hand woven pieces combined with her skill of designing for machine production made her by far the best instructor the weaving workshop was to have. Under Stölzl's direction, the weaving workshop became one of the most successful faculties of the Bauhaus.
Meyer - was a Swiss architect and second director of the Bauhaus in Dessau from 1928 to 1930.
Walter Gropius appointed Meyer head of the Bauhaus architecture department when it was finally established in April 1927. (Stam had been Gropius's first choice.) Meyer brought his radical functionalist viewpoint he named, in 1929, Die neue Baulehre (the new way to build), that architecture was an organizational task with no relationship to aesthetics, that buildings should be low cost and designed to fulfill social needs. Although he was fired for allegedly politicizing the school, scholars have shown that to be incorrect.
Meyer brought the two most significant building commissions for the school, both of which still stand: five apartment buildings in the city of Dessau called Laubenganghäuser Dessau which translates to 'Arcade Houses'. The apartments are considered to be 'real' Bauhaus buildings because they originated through the Bauhaus department of Architecture. The development bordered on an existing housing estate which was designed by Walter Gropius. The other major building commission was the headquarters of the Federal School of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (ADGB), a confederation of German trade unions, in Bernau. The school turned its first profit under his leadership in 1929. The Trade Union School's purpose was to provide further education to administrators and leaders of the trade union movement on such topics as economics, management, labor law, and industrial hygiene. The school operated for only three years until the Nazis confiscated the building for use as an SS training facility during World War II.
After Gropius appointed Meyer to replace him as the school's director (1928-1930), Meyer continued with Gropius' innovations to focus on designing prototypes for serial mass production and functionalist architecture. In the increasingly dangerous political atmosphere of the Weimar Republic, Dessau's Mayor Hesse alleged that Meyer allowed a Communist student organization to gain traction and bring bad publicity to the school, threatening its survival. Mayor Hesse of Dessau fired him, with a monetary settlement, on August 1, 1930. Meyer's open letter in a left-wing newspaper two weeks later characterizes the Bauhaus as "Incestuous theories (blocking) all access to healthy, life-oriented design... As head of the Bauhaus, I fought the Bauhaus style".
Van der Rohe - was a German-American architect. He is commonly referred to, and was addressed, as Mies, his surname. He served as the last director of Berlin's Bauhaus, and then headed the department of architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he developed the Second Chicago School. Along with Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, and Frank Lloyd Wright, he is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.
Mies, like many of his post-World War I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential twentieth century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. He strove toward an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of free-flowing open space. He called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design, but he was always concerned with expressing the spirit of the modern era. He is often associated with his quotation of the aphorisms, "less is more" and "God is in the details".