Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar

On April 1, 1919, Walter Gropius founded Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar, as a merger of the Großherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstschule and the Großherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule. Henry van de Velde, founder of the Kunstgewerbliches Seminar in Weimar and director of the Großherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule, had already suggested the architect Walter Gropius for this position in 1915. Its aim was to promote the union of art and crafts in the fields of architecture, fine arts and design. As a cosmopolitan and international influenced institution, Bauhaus became known as one of the most important meeting places of the European avant-garde.

Gropius understood Bauhaus as a working community in which there should be no social difference between artists and craftsmen. He also facilitated the access conditions to the academic courses: Therefore every talented person could study at Bauhaus, regardless of age, gender or descent. For this concept Gropius was able to acquire well-known artists such as Lyonel Feininger (1919), Johannes Itten (1919), Gerhard Marcks (1919), Paul Klee (1921), Oskar Schlemmer (1921), as well as Wassily Kandinsky (1922), Josef Albers (1923) or László Moholy-Nagy (1923) as teachers. The teaching of Bauhaus, inspired by the founding manifesto, took shape as a new type of lesson: It consisted of a preliminary course conceived by Johannes Itten and the work in workshops, and pursued individual development of the students. As a special feature at Bauhaus Weimar was considered the stage workshop by Lothar Schreyer and Oskar Schlemmer, which, as an interdisciplinary institution, attempted to connect the various facets of art and craft.


The initially rather expressionist, romantic phase was replaced around 1922 by the entry of the De-Stijl founder Theo van Doesburg. Then simple forms of cubism and constructivism as well as the consolidation of art and technique were in focus. Van Doesburg received no teaching assignment from Gropius at Bauhaus, but he acted as a freelance employee offering private lessons in architectural design. Bauhaus was promoted by the state government until the right-wing Thuringian Ordnungsbund seized majority in power in 1924, after which the school lost about 50 percent of its budget. Gropius and the remaining members of staff terminated their contracts as early as December 1924 with the announcement of the cancellation of all apprenticeship contracts on March 31, 1925, and decided to resettle in the social democratic Dessau.