Happy Holidays, Bauhaus Style!
In post-WWI Germany, freed from monarchy and censorship, artists and writers thrived. They explored what it meant to live in a modern, industrial world. Some of the most lasting impact from this period originated at the Bauhaus.
The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius, who wanted to teach all forms of art and design under one roof. He wanted to end the separation of fine art from craftsmanship. Ultimately, he wanted to bring beautiful, functional, everyday objects into the homes of all people.
The fundamental principles at work in the Bauhaus were
- embracing technology
- lack of ornamentation
- allowing function to dictate form
- uniting art with craft
In graphic design, primary colors and geometric shapes were favored. The typeface Helvetica was adored for its purity of function and lack of embellishments. In my tribute to Bauhaus design, I am using Raphael’s Madonna and Child with Book to counterbalance the strong geometry.
Sadly, the Nazi regime rose to power and put burdensome restrictions on the Bauhaus teachers and curriculum. In 1933 it closed for good, dispersing its luminaries to France, England, Switzerland, Netherlands, and the United States.
Top row from left to right: the designs of Wassily Kandinsky, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Lazlo Maholy-Nagy. Bottom row: Marianne Brandt, Paul Klee, Walter Gropius.