The founder Walter Gropius pursued the dream of creating a new “architectural art”: Art and craft were to be united. He called this art “Bauhaus”, like the name of his school “The Bauhaus”. Bauhaus is therefore less about a concrete style of art than about the coming together of artists of different styles who pursue a common goal.
The medieval huts, in which artists and craftsmen worked hand in hand, serve as models for the workshops that were created. Gropius wants to revive this form of collaboration. At first, he succeeded in getting already well-known artists, especially painters, enthusiastic about his idea and winning them over as teachers for the Bauhaus. Gradually, the Bauhaus School was expanded to include the subjects of architecture and building practice.
Bauhaus – synthesis of art and craftsmanship
One artist and one craftsman each run a workshop. A striking indication of the synthesis of art and craft is the structure of the Bauhaus schools. At the former state arts and crafts school in Weimar there are no professors and students, but masters, young masters, journeymen and apprentices.
The artists appointed to Bauhaus are called “masters of form” and a master craftsman is technically responsible for them. Johannes Itten, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, who also supervises the metal workshop, and Josef Albers lead the preliminary and elementary courses. Lyonel Feininger heads the print shop, Gerhard Marcks the pottery, Georg Munch the weaving mill and Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee the wall and glass painting. Oskar Schlemmer is given responsibility for the two sculpture classes (wood and stone) and for the Bauhaus stage. His predecessor Lothar Schreyer leaves the Bauhaus School after his “expressionist scene practice” does not meet with any applause.
The basic idea of Bauhaus
Bauhaus shapes and teaches two essential ideas: The difference between art and craftsmanship is to be eliminated or unified. What works is beautiful. By opening the boundaries between craftsmanship, technology, art and industry, Bauhaus has overcome art for the sake of art.
The efficiency and usefulness of a product is decisive for Bauhaus design. Aesthetics and artistic expression should be influenced exclusively by the function of the product.
Ornamental playfulness, romantic impressions, as they were fashionable and expressed before 1900, are frowned upon by Bauhaus. Objects of daily use, houses and rooms that are decorated against their purpose and function, so that they “disguise” their actual everyday purpose, are found by the representatives of the Bauhaus to be “hypocritical”. For them, they are merely masquerade and appearance. Man should be surrounded in his home by commodities, honest art and harmony.
Expensive, magnificent and poorly equipped apartments should be a thing of the past. The concept of rational and industrialized buildings should eliminate this problem. This new kind of housing construction, as well as industrially manufactured articles of daily use are to offer the possibility to “usual” humans of living in better quality of life.