Itten, Moholy-Nagy, Wagenfeld and Brandt, directors of the Bauhaus Metal Workshop

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Johannes Itten

Johannes Itten (Switzerland, 1888 - Switzerland, 1967). He was a painter, designer, teacher and writer. Between 1904 and 1906, Johannes Itten was trained as a primary teacher at the Teacher Training Institute in Bern. He worked as a primary school teacher from 1908 to 1909. That same year, he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva and studied there until 1910. Until 1912, Itten completed another degree in natural sciences and mathematics at the University of Bern and He received his diploma as a high school teacher. In the following two years, he studied at the Stuttgart Academy and became a member of the main student study of Adolf Hölzel. In 1916, Herwarth Walden organized a first individual exhibition dedicated to the work of Itten in his gallery Der Sturm in Berlin. That same year, Itten moved to Vienna and opened a private art school there.

Between 1919 and 1923 he was named one of the first masters of the Bauhaus in Weimar by Walter Gropius. In addition until 1923 he was also director of the preliminary course that he had developed independently for the introductory semester and teacher of the form of all the workshops, except the workshops of ceramics, binding and printing. He left the Bauhaus in March 1923 after disagreements with Walter Gropius and three years later founded the Itten School in Berlin.

In 1932, he was elected to direct Höhere Fachschule für Textile Flächenkunst (Advanced School of Textile Art) in Krefeld. In 1934, the Itten school in Berlin was closed by the NSDAP. In 1937, Itten's work was exhibited at the exhibition Entartete Kunst (degenerate art) in Munich. In the following year, he was dismissed from his position at the academy in Krefeld. Itten then moved to the Netherlands. In 1938, he became the director of the Kunstgewerbeschule (school of applied arts) and the Kunstgewerbemuseum (museum of applied arts) in Zurich. In 1943, he also became director of the Textilfachschule (textile school) in Zurich. In 1949, he was commissioned to design the Rietberg Museum for non-European art in Zurich. In 1955, Max Bill invited him to join the School of Design (HfG) of Ulm. Several retrospectives of his work were carried out at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1957 and at the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1964, among others.

The Darmstadt Professor awarded Johannes Itten an honorary doctorate in 1965. In 1966 he received the "Sikkens Art Prize of the Netherlands" and is now internationally recognized for representing Switzerland at the 33rd Venice Biennial.

Johannes Itten died in Zurich on March 25, 1967.

László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy (Austria, 1895 - Chicago, 1946). Photographer, painter, Bauhaus professor and art theorist. At the beginning of his career, Moholy studied law. Unfortunately, due to World War I, he had to abandon his studies. At the end of the war, he decided to dedicate himself completely to art, attending classes and studying the old masters such as Rembrandt, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and practitioners of Cubism and Futurism.

In 1920, in Berlin, he began his career as a photographer together with his wife Lucía Schulz, doing various jobs. In addition, he was also interested in painting. He began to paint abstract canvases, in which geometric shapes and bands of color form architectural structures without a body in space. In 1922, he participated in his first exhibition at the avant-garde gallery Der Sturm in Berlin, which included works made from industrial materials.

In 1923, the Bauhaus appointed Moholy-Nagy director of the metallurgy workshop, until 1928. In this period he turned to the study of the effects of balance and pressure of materials and became the precursor of Bauhaus photography. He was also a pioneer in the Bauhaus series of books with Walter Gropius and collaborated with the designer Herbert Bayer on Bauhaus materials typography. In 1928 he resorted to more commercial artistic activities, such as advertising design, typography and stage design.

Later, in 1934, due to the rise of the Nazis to power, Moholy-Nagy moved to Amsterdam where he worked with artists and architects of De Stijl, experimented with color photography and gave frequent lectures.

In 1937, Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago at the invitation of the Association of Arts and Industries, where he took the direction of a design school created by himself, the "New Bauhaus". Unfortunately, it did not succeed and it closed its doors the following year. In spite of it, it reopened the school in 1939, in this case called Institute of Design, that today is part of the Institute of Technology of Illinois.

Finally, Moholy-Nagy died of leukemia in 1946, in Chicago.

Wilhelm Wagenfeld

Wilhelm Wagenfeld (15 April 1900, Bremen, Germany — 28 May 1990, Stuttgart, Germany) was an important German industrial designer and former student of the Bauhaus art school. Wilhelm Wagenfeld completed an apprenticeship at the design office of the Bremen silverware factory of Koch & Bergfeld during the First World War. In addition, he attended the local applied arts school from 1916 to 1919. Between 1919 and 1922, he received a scholarship to the State Design Academy of Hanau/Main and trained to become a silversmith. In 1923, he set up a workshop at the Barkenhoff in Worpswede with Bernhard Hoetger and Heinrich Vogeler. This is also the year that he began studying at the State Bauhaus in Weimar. During this time, Wagenfeld designed works such as his famous Bauhaus lamp in 1924.

After the dissolution of the Bauhaus Weimar on 1 April 1925, he became a member of the German Werkbund and accepted the position of assistant to Richard Winkelmayer, the head of the metal workshop at the State Academy of Crafts and Architecture in Weimar. In 1928, he took over the direction of Bauhaus metal workshops of which he was already an assistant, where he made designs such as the M15 tea service, with forms less hard than his previous works. From 1928 he worked for Schott & Gen. de Jena, making glassware, and a year later he founded his own design studio. He and many of the other teachers at the academy were fired in 1930 at the insistence of the NSDAP party, which was represented in the Thuringian Landtag.

Starting in 1930, this was followed by freelance work and a commission from the Thuringian Economics Ministry to supervise independent glassblowers. In addition, he was asked to begin teaching at the State Art Academy Grunewaldstrasse in Berlin-Schöneberg in 1931 and began working as a freelance employee of the Jena Schott & Gen. glass factory at that time. From 1935 to 1947, he was the artistic director of the United Lausitzer Glass Works (Vereinigte Lausitzer Glaswerke) in Weisswasser/Oberlausitz. In 1937, his work exhibited at the Paris World Exhibition was distinguished with the Grand Prix. The same award was bestowed on him in 1940 by the Milan Triennale.

Following his military service in 1944 and war imprisonment in 1945, Wagenfeld returned to Weisswasser. He subsequently received numerous appointments to academies. This included a lectureship at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts through Hans Scharoun, as well as the directorship for the Typing and Standardisation Department at the Institute for Civil Engineering at the German Academy of the Sciences. In 1949, Wagenfeld was given a position as a consultant for industrial design at the Württemberg State Office of Trade in Stuttgart. Between 1950 and 1977, he collaborated with the Württemberg Metal Works (Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik AG, WMF) in Geislingen. He founded the Experimental and Developmental Workshop for Industry Models in Stuttgart in 1954, which existed until 1978. This is where designs were created for many industrial enterprises such as the Rosenthal-Porzellan AG, the Peill & Putzler Glashüttenwerke GmbH, the Braun Company and the Pelikan factory.

Marianne Brandt

Marianne Brandt. (1893-1983), born in Chemnitz in Germany, was a Bauhaus trained designer and artist. She studied painting and sculpture at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst Weimar (now the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar). In 1924 she attended the preliminary course at the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar. There, she worked with László Moholy-Nagy in the metal workshop, which she eventually became director of in 1928. By this point, she had already designed the first lighting fixtures for the Bauhaus Building in Dessau. Brandt left the Bauhaus at the end of 1929, having worked at the architecture office of Walter Gropius, collaborated with Hin Bredendieck, as well the companies Kandem in Leipzig and Schwintzer & Gräff in Berlin. She lectured at the HfBK Dresden and worked at the University of Applied Art in Berlin until 1954.



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