Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bauhaus Art, Contextual Studies

Irem Yilmaz
Contextual Studies,
Art & Design Foundation
Kingston University

Walter Gropius founded The Bauhaus School in early 1900’s in Weimar. Gropius was an architect it was an art and design school; but the school did not have an architecture department during the first years. The students at the school were taught to primarily design whatever it was that they, it was very much a broad, whether it be designing for homes, furniture or anything else. “Gropius explained this vision for a union of art and design in the Proclamation of the Bauhaus (1919), which described a utopian craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single creative expression. Gropius developed a craft-based curriculum that would turn out artisans and designers capable of creating useful and beautiful objects appropriate to this new system of living.” [1] The Bauhaus combined elements of both fine arts and design education. “ With the first Bauhaus program Gropius translated the ideas for reform developed during the revolutionary and post-revolutionary periods into an educational curriculum. But the Bauhaus wanted to be more than just the amalgamation of an art academy and a school of arts and crafts: instead its teaching was dominated by the both symbolic and practical goal of Bauen-building.”[2]

Their primary intention was to integrate art, technology and craftsmanship by ignoring precedent and generating a new design philosophy. “ It is naturally vital for everyone that we attract strong, lively personalities. We must not starts with mediocrity; it is our duty to enlist powerful, famous personalities wherever possible, even if we do not yet fully understand them”[3] The course was often taught by visual artists, including Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky, and Josef Albers and among others. They believed that design of any sort ought to be considered a high art as does painting or sculpture. The curriculum commenced with a preliminary course that immersed the students, who came from a diverse range of social and educational backgrounds, in the study of materials, color theory, and formal relationships in preparation for more specialized studies. Following studies students entered lots of workshops, which included woodworking, metalworking, weaving, typography and painting. . “Architects, painters, and sculptors must recognize a new and learn to grasp the composite character of a building both as an entity and in its separate parts. Only then will their work be imbued with the architectonic spirit, which it has lost as ''salon art.'' Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.”[4]

Gropius' initial aim was a unification of the arts through craft, aspects of this approach proved financially impractical. While maintaining the emphasis on craft, he repositioned the goals of the Bauhaus in 1923, stressing the importance of designing for mass production. It was at this time that the school adopted the slogan "Art into Industry." All teachers thought different kinds of designs but with one of the common thing that they had in their curriculum and the way they taught was to design with the idea of mass production in mind. "Novel method of education in design has been widely misunderstood and misinterpreted. The present generation is inclined to think of it as a rigid stylistic dogma of yesterday whose usefulness has come to an end because its ideological and technical premises are now outdated. This view confuses a method of approach with the practical results obtained by it at a particular period of its application. The Bauhaus was not concerned with the formulation of time bound, stylistic concepts, and its technical methods were not ends in themselves. It was created to show how a multitude of individuals, willing to work concertedly but without losing their identity, could evolve a kinship of expression in their response to the challenges of the day. Its aim was to give a basic demonstration of how to maintain unity in diversity, and it did this with the materials, techniques, and form concepts germane to its time. It was this method of approach that was revolutionary…”[5] It was considered to be quite controversial at the time but after a while it actually began to catch on and became wildly popular, and continues to be a massive influence in architectural design and even to this day. It was quite revolutionary for it's time and actually the name Bauhaus was an inversion of the word Hausbau which in German roughly translated means house construction. First it was a school in Germany but today Bauhaus art is known as just one of the primary influences in the architectural design. The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture and modern design. The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

In 1925 Mies van der Rohe had been involved in fetching the Bauhaus from Weimar to Dessau; in 1930 he had played a key role in Hannes Meyer’s dismissal. The school moved 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. Prinzhorn organized a declaration of confidence in Mies van der Rohe, which was sent to the mayor, Hesse, who in turn used it as an argument in his last speech before the final vote on Nazi motion to close The Bauhaus. This declaration stated: “ In his character, in his intellectual stance, in his professional convictions and powers of design as expressed in his buildings and work, we see in Mies van der Rohe an exemplary German architect. It is our conviction that, under his direction, young people are educated in honest, artist design and responsible working. We would consider it regrettable should Mies van der Rohe be deprived, through the closure of the Bauhaus, of the opportunity to educate young people according to his convictions.”[6] The new building contained many features that later became hallmarks of modernist architecture, including steel and frame construction, a glass curtain wall, and an asymmetrical, pinwheel plan, throughout which Gropius distributed studio, classroom, and administrative space for maximum efficiency and spatial logic. 

In its last few years the Bauhaus was dominated by architecture, but it produced a great range of stuffs, with many of them being adopted for large-scale manufacture.



- Droste, Magdalena Bauhaus, 1919-1933, Köln ; London : Taschen
- Michael Siebenbrodt ; Jeff Wall ; Klaus Weber 1960, Bauhaus : A Conceptual Model, Ostfildern
- Walter Gropius, letter to Ernst Hardt of 14.4.1919. in Reginald R. Isaacs: Walter Gropius. Der Mensch und sein Werk. Vol.1. p.68
- The Visual Dictionary of Interior Architecture and Design, (2009), AVA Publishing
- “The Role of the Architect in Modern Society,” address given at Columbia University (March 1961)
- Hans Prinzhorn: Vertrauenskundgebung fur Mies van der Rohe. Archiv Nurnberg(note 130). Grote estate, sheet 242.


- The Bauhaus, 1919–1933 :Alexandra Griffith Winton, Independent Scholar
- Walter Gropius, Program of the State Bauhaus in Weimar (1919),
-Bauhaus Archiv


- Modernism:Bauhaus
Study of Bauhaus
- Bauhaus documentary part 1
- Bauhaus documentary part 2
- Bauhaus documentary part 3

[1] The Bauhaus, 1919–1933 :Alexandra Griffith Winton, Independent Scholar
[2] Bauhaus, 1919-1933, Bauhaus Archive, Magdalena Droste
[3] Walter Gropius, letter to Ernst Hardt of 14.4.1919.
[4] Walter Gropius, Program of the State Bauhaus in Weimar (1919)
[5] “The Role of the Architect in Modern Society,” (March 1961)
[6] Hans Prinzhorn: Vertrauenskundgebung fur Mies van der Rohe. Archiv Nurnberg(note 130). Grote estate, sheet 242.

Sirkeci Gari


Ayasofya, Hagia Sophia


Laptop Cover's -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Paper Project -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Trestle -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Tunnel -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Mold -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Tail -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Perfect Pear -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

3D -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Fine Art -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Graphic Design -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

Fashion -Kingston University Foundation Portfolio

# 3D

1-CITY 3D carton material and acrylic paint:
December 2010. Horizon Art Studio, From my 3D workshop.

2-WAVES AND LIGHT 3D; oak tag paper, marker, acrylic paint and candles:
December 2010. Horizon Art Studio. Simple but interesting. I created these lights from papers that I had drawn some patterns on. 

3-REPRODUCTION Oil color on canvas:
March 2010. Meray Art Studio. This is a reproduction of Egon Schiele’s “Sitting Woman with Leg.”


SILENCE 1 Acrylic on canvas

SILENCE 2 Acrylic on canvas


SILENCE 3 Acrylic on canvas

SILENCE 4 Acrylic on canvas

November 2010. Meray Art Studio. These pieces were created for my exhibition, which took place in Istanbul, January 2011. The exhibition was called “Silence”.


1-CATALHOYUK From sketchbook:
June 2010. Horizon Art Studio.


2-COMB&THINKING MAN From sketchbook:
July 2010. Horizon Art Studio.

3-CATALHOYUK 1 Acrylic and ceramics on canvas:
May 2010. High School Art Class. This was a part of project that we researched Neolithic Age and created pieces to reflect on the figures of that time.

4-CATALHOYUK 2 Acrylic on canvas:
May 2010. High School Art Class. One of my Neolithic Age pieces.

5-CATALHOYUK 3 Acrylic and ceramics on canvas:
May 2010. I did this at school for Art Class. Part of my Neolitic Age serial.