An artistic movement that emerged in 1919 in Weimar, a city that today is part of the German state of Thuringia, is known as the Bauhaus. Its founder was Walter Gropius, an architect, designer and urban planner born in 1883 and died in 1969.
Gropius created the Staatliche Bauhaus in 1919. This institution was a design school that encouraged among its students the use of innovative materials for the development of buildings, furniture and various objects. Gropius’ goal was for the creations to combine functionality and aesthetics.
Throughout its history, the Bauhaus was installed in Weimar (1919-1925), Dessau (1925-1932) and Berlin (1932-1934). The pressure of Nazism on the entity, which it considered a socialist and whose directors were Jews, caused its closure.
The influence of the Bauhaus reached various areas. In addition to architecture and different branches of design, various artistic disciplines followed the postulates of the movement.
The Bauhaus, especially in its first stage, proposed to recover artisanal methods in construction and sought to promote the commercialization of products that were accessible to most of society. Painters Paul Klee, Josef Albers and Vasili Vasílievich Kandinski; photographer Walter Peterhans; designer Lászlo Moholy-Nagy; the sculptor Joost Schmidt; and the architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuerare some of the exponents of this trend that left important works in the German cities of Wiemar and Dessau and in the Israeli town of Tel Aviv, among other places.
In 2016, the Harvard University Art Museums launched the world’s largest collection of documents, works and objects from the Bauhaus school on the Internet, to the delight of those who love simple and effective design. It is a catalog in digital format of some 32,000 pieces, undoubtedly a more than high number, enough to initiate anyone interested in the most relevant design school of the 20th century.
It is important to note that the scope of the Bauhaus was considerable, and that they would not have closed had it not been for the pressure that Nazism exerted on them. Once again, power and wars passed over art without any sensitivity or consideration, and clipped the wings of a group of people seeking innovation.
Regarding the relationship between the Bauhaus school and Harvard University, it should be noted that Walter Gropius moved to Boston, where he served as dean of the School of Architecture until his retirement. In all those years of work, an invaluable treasure emerged that today we can appreciate from our homes with a simple search.
In the impressive repository we can make very specific queries, filtering the results by date, type, author and technique. Each object is accompanied by a complete description, with contextual and historical data that complement the experience. The only disappointing aspect is the quality of the photos, something that probably responds to the need to continue to make money through sales of official material: if they offered the best images for free, almost no one would bother to buy them.
Despite this limitation, such as 256 square pixel photographs of works as important as the Club B3 chair (present in this article), designed by Marcel Breuer and known among connoisseurs as the Wasilly chair, this virtual museum is certainly worthy of be visited to appreciate the legacy of some of the geniuses of the Bauhaus school.
Bauhaus, on the other hand, is also the name of a German company that sells products for the home and of an English group of gothic rock and post-punk.