Bauhaus- Art with a social mission




Marcel Breuer- Cantilevered chair 1927 & Wassily Chair 1925

– designed chairs – many items didn’t take off straight away 

Brever- ideas from bike handlebars


Timescale: 1919- 1933


– just after World War 1

– Germany in need of economic recovery

Influenced by:

-De stiji- reducing visual elements to vertical and horizontal lines

– constructivism- art should serve society

– cubism- multiple view points and geometric components

-futurism – speed dynamism, repetition, machine 

– revolutionized design permanently

Themes and concerns:

– Art was to become a responsible activity

– architecture as the mother of all arts

– utopian and utilitarian

– The well functioning building designed to make peoples lives easier and happier
– A beautiful environment for a classless society
– Craft guilds – not students but apprentices
– Truth to materials
– Reduction to essentials for machine production
Manifesto 1919:

“Architects, painters, sculptors, we must all return to the crafts! For there is no such thing as ‘professional art’ there is no essential difference between the artists and the craftsman … a foundation of crafts discipline is essential to every artist”.




-Very vast, no one style

-created flat roofs

– function, minimised

– workers liked cluttered messy look- found bauhaus boring, no soul




Bauhaus Ethos

‘Freedom of expression, experiment with material’

Preliminary Course, Itten- 1919-1922



– obsessed with colour 

– 6 months- induction- everything

– 3 years- learning inside circle


Josef Albers- colour experiment



– you see opposite

-made tea set- workers can afford – everything simplified


Desktop light 1928, 1924

1931- 50,000 lights sold



Textiles– reversible- machine washable 

Gunta Stolzl Master Weaver 1927




They’re biting 1920



Fire in the Evening 1929


-worshiper of colour

– they’re biting- geometric shapes, faded colour, warm and cold colours- representation of the seaside, abstract elements, energetic, type explanation mark. 


Alma Siedhoff- busher 1924

Geometric shapes

Josef Hartwig 1923


– shapes show where piece moves


Master Buildings





Student buildings



– the buildings are clean,

– geometric shapes

– modern



Main Points:

– art should have a social purpose

-break down the barrier between fine art and craft

– wanted to train designers to understand the industrial process

– simplification to geometric forms for serialisation

-revolutionised the way art is taught

– revolutionised modern design

Main artists: Mondrain, Rodchenko, picasso. Their aim was to shape society through their art, around the time when there was economic recovery and just after world war 1.


1. Three ideas that link constructivism, De Stijl and the bauhaus is the use of geometric shapes within their work, the political influence they had or were trying to show within their art to the public and government, colour and materials.





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