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What Is Bauhaus?

L. S. Wynn
By L. S. Wynn
Updated May 23, 2024
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Bauhaus was a design school that emerged in Germany in 1919. Bauhaus designers and their students broke from tradition and developed a very modernist style. Their primary intention was to integrate art, technology and craftsmanship by ignoring precedent and generating a new design philosophy. The innovative ideas ranged from architecture to furniture design to typography. They believed that design of any sort ought to be considered a high art as does painting or sculpture.

The Bauhaus school moved from Weimar to Dessau in 1925. In 1932 the school was moved again to Berlin, only to be shut down forever by the Nazi Regime in 1933. The Nazi party had been opposed to Bauhaus for many years because they believed that it was closely related to communism since many members of the school were Russian.

Perhaps the most known developers of the Bauhaus school include Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Mies van der Rohe. Lesser-known names but perhaps equally influential include: Lyonel Feininger, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. The influence of school is still alive; many modern buildings, offices and pieces of furniture draw heavily on the style put forth by Bauhaus.

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Discussion Comments
By VivAnne — On May 30, 2011

Did you know that Bauhaus is also a style of photography? It's based on the style and principals of the Bauhaus school of arts, and most often features mechanical things like lightbulbs and bolts and such as the subject.

A fun trait of Bauhaus photography style is that you're supposed to photograph the subject from such an angle that it's hard to tell what it is right away. A not so fun trait is that, since the name is the same as the architecture and school, when you try to research Bauhaus photography style online you have an extremely difficult time coming up with anything!

By Engelbert — On May 18, 2011

I think Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is certainly one of the most influential designers of all time. He's known for coining the phrase "less is more" which basically described his whole design philosophy. Frank Lloyd Wright expanded on this by saying "less is only more when more is no good", which I think I agree with if only because it's more specific. I think I prefer van der Rohe as a designer though, so maybe he’s right.

By rjh — On May 17, 2011

I'm not a big fan of the furniture either, but I love the paintings, Kandinsky in particular. I especially like his use of geometric imagery which was most likely influenced by Paul Klee. I also find the comparisons he makes between music and the birth of abstract art interesting; that's why his paintings are often titled "improvisations" or "compositions".

By Sequoia — On May 15, 2011

I'm kind of undecided on Bauhaus furniture and chairs. At times I think it can be quite aesthetically pleasing but not really something I'd want in my house; some of that stuff looks like it's more suited to a doctor's office. I guess I often just find it very cold and sterile looking. I do however love Harry Bertoia's Wire Chair, although I don't think it'd be very comfortable to sit on. What do you think?

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