'Bauhaus Beginnings' at the Getty Research Institute

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Curator Comisaria
Maristella Casciato
Collaborators Colaboradores
Gary Fox, Katherine Rochester, Alexandra Sommer, Johnny Tran.
Consultant Consultor
Tim Durfee
Location Lugar
The Getty Center. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.
Dates Fechas
From June 11 to October 13, 2019. Del 11 de junio al 13 de octubre de 2019.
Artists Artistas
Lyonel Feininger, Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, Vassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Gerhard Marcks, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer, Erich Comeriner, Friedl Dicker, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, Erich Mrozek, Margarete Willers, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, Gunta Stölzl.


Walter Adolph Georg Gropius was born in Berlin, son and grandson of architects, whose influence led him to study architecture in Munich and Berlin. After completing his studies, he worked in Peter Behrens' practice, to later become independent. Between 1910 and 1915, he worked primarily on the rehabilitation and expansion of Fagus Factory in Alfeld. With its thin metal structures, large glazed surfaces, flat roofs and orthogonal forms, this work was a pioneer of modern architecture.

In addition, Gropius founded the famous Bauhaus School, a design school that taught students to use modern and innovative materials to create buildings, furniture and original and functional objects. He was in charge of it first in Weimar and then in Dessau, from 1919 to 1928.

From 1926, Gropius was intensely devoted to the design of housing blocks, which saw the solution to social and urban problems, inaddition to betting for the racionalization in the construction industry, which would allow to build faster and more economically.

Before the First World War, Gropius was already part of a movement of aesthetic renovation, represented by the Deutscher Werkbund, which aimed to unite art with industrial design.

After the war, Gropius, in his role as director of the Sächsischen Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) and Sächsischen Hochschule für bildene Kunst (Superior School of Fine Arts), decides to merge the two schools under the name of "Staatliches Bauhaus "combining their academic goals and adding an architecture section. The building constructed for the school itself is a symbol of the most representative ideas of the Bauhaus: "form follows function".

In 1934 Gropius was forced to leave Germany due to the Nazi agressions suffered by the Bauhaus and his own work. He lived and worked for three years in England moving to America later, where he was professor of architecture at the Harvard Design School. In 1946 The Architects Collaborative, Inc., a group of young architects known as TAC, of which he was responsible of the direction and trainig of the memebers for several years.

Walter Gropius died in Boston in 1969, at the age of 86 years old. His buildings reflect the style of the Bauhaus, with new materials used in their construction and giving them a modern look, unknown at that time. Smooth facades and clear lines, lack of unnecessary decorative elements. This architecture has made of him one of the key leaders of the so-called 'International Style' in architecture.


Kandinsky was born Moscow in 1866 into a comfortable and cultured family. He learnt German from his grandmother, and took lessons in piano, cello and drawing. In 1885, he began to study law at the Moscow faculty, going on to complete his thesis. But when he was just on the point of obtaining a teaching position, in 1895, he decided to break with his legal career and devote himself to art. He then went to Munich to learn painting, and very soon set up as a teacher himself by creating, with other Munich artists, the Phalanx art group. Through this association he met Gabriele Münter, a German-American artist, who was his companion until 1914. With her, he travelled throughout Europe and North Africa and then, in 1906, established himself in Paris for a year. At this time, his works consisted of small paintings, often landscapes in the impressionist style, like a travel logbook, which gained him the reputation of a dilettante in the Parisian milieu.

It was not until 1908, back in Germany, where he was living with Gabriele Münter in Murnau, that his real artistic career began. Although his favourite themes – landscapes, popular culture – remained the same, he treated them in an increasingly abstract manner with a growing autonomy of colours. In 1914, when war broke out, he left Munich to take refuge in Switzerland, then went to Moscow where he remained until 1921. There, he began to write a text, conceived as the companion piece to Concerning the Spiritual in Art, “On Materialism in Art”, which would not be published until 1926 as Point and line to plane. During this period, he painted little, favouring, for material reasons, drawing and works on paper. Then, as the new regime established itself, he devoted his attention to the creation of the country’s new artistic structures, such as the IZO, the state body responsible for fine arts.

Nevertheless, his situation, as much artistic as financial and political, had become precarious. During an official mission in 1921, he decided to remain in Germany with his wife Nina. Walter Gropius, director of the Bauhaus Movement, offered him a teaching position, which he would occupy up until the school’s closure in 1933 and his departure for France. At this time, his German nationality obtained in 1927 having been revoked, the stateless Kandinsky established himself in Paris. It was not until 1939 that he became a French citizen, in extremis before the start of the Second World War. Until 1944, the Kandinskys led a secluded life in Neuilly-sur-Seine, where the artist pursued his final research objectives.


Oskar Schlemmer (4 September 1888 – 13 April 1943) 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.


Josef Albers was born in Bottrop (Westphalia, Germany) in 1888 and died in 1976 in New Haven, Connecticut, in the United States, his adopted country to where he emigrated in 1933, the year of the rise to power of the Nazi party, which impeded the continuation of the Bauhaus where Albers had been a teacher at its venues in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin. Having moved to America, Albers taught at Black Mountain College (North Carolina) until 1949. He was later head of the Department of Design at Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut), retiring from that position in 1958. From his early years at the Bauhaus in his native Germany until the end of his career at Yale, Albers combined artistic creation with teaching and many leading American artists trained with him.




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