Bauhaus

   an institute dedicated to unity between the pure and applied arts. Founded in Weimar, the Bauhaus was rooted in Walter Gropius's* 1918 ap-pointment as director of both the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach's School of Arts and Crafts and the Fine Arts Academy. In April 1919, after the Grossherzog's abdication, Gropius merged the schools as the Staatliches Bau-haus Weimar. His inaugural manifesto exemplified the school's history: "Today the arts exist in isolation, from which they can be rescued only through the conscious, cooperative effort of all craftsmen All must return to the crafts.
   For art is not a 'profession.' There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman" (Wingler). Until 1923 the Bauhaus mirrored the utopian struggles of Weimar culture. Polarized by abstraction and craftsmanship, the school was torn between the nonutilitarian ideology of Johannes Itten* and the pragmatism of Laszlo Mo-holy-Nagy.* Two 1923 events—Itten's removal and a major exhibition ("Art and Technology: A New Unity")—induced change and reflected a determina-tion to market the school's craftsmanship. The banknotes designed for the gov-ernment by Herbert Bayer, the furniture of Marcel Breuer,* and the skyscraper models assembled by Ludwig Mies* all reflected the new emphasis.
   Upon the 1923 removal of Thuringia's* leftist government, Weimar's politics became incompatible with the Bauhaus. Deemed too modern and too "un-German" by the state's new leadership, the school relocated in April 1925 to Dessau. New building and classroom quarters, designed by Gropius, were com-pleted in 1926, and the school's name was changed to Hochschule für Gestal-tung (Institute for Design). Under the rising influence of Moholy-Nagy, who proclaimed art's death in the introductory course, practical design increasingly displaced the once-prominent painters. Gradually, the school's architectural im-pact was noticed in cities throughout Germany, especially in Berlin* and Frank-furt.
   When in 1928 Gropius released the Bauhaus to Hannes Meyer—a choice he later regretted—the emphasis on functionalism was broadened while art offer-ings were curtailed. The sense of mystery once associated with Itten was aban-doned. Meyer was unpopular with most faculty and several students. He was an outspoken Communist, and his attempt to link Marxism with the school's cur-riculum also alienated Dessau's city government. Although he was replaced in November 1930 by Mies, who refocused studies on pure craftsmanship, the politicians had grown weary of the school's modernism. By January 1932 a Nazi city council was demanding closure; thus, the Bauhaus relocated to Berlin in October. Under pressure from the NSDAP, Mies closed the school on 2 April 1933; its product was deemed illustrative of entartete Kunst (degenerate art).
   Many Bauhaus teachers and pupils scattered throughout Europe and America. Although it rarely had more than two hundred students, its long-term impact on design concepts transcended its humble size.
   REFERENCES:Bayer, Gropius, and Gropius, Bauhaus; EA; Neumann, Bauhaus; Willett, Art and Politics; Wingler, Bauhaus.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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