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The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus was an art and architecture school founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919 whose style was of great influence to Modernist architecture. It introduced many innovative ideas regarding graphic design, and its influence is depicted in many typographic techniques that are still in use today. This institute introduced new architectural teaching methods that greatly influenced the world, theoretically and practically, by integrating architecture, sculpture, painting, and crafts.

The Bauhaus operated in different cities: Weimar from 1919 to 1925, Dessau from 1925 to 1932, Berlin from 1932 to 1933 and Chicago from 1937 to 1938. As the Bauhaus changed its venue, it also changed its leader. Changes of setting and leadership led to shifts of focus, technique, and politics. The main objective pursued by the Bauhaus was the union of art and industry. It aimed to teach the arts by bridging the gulf between art and industry. In fact, the school was a merger of the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts and the Weimar Academy of Fine Arts.


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Gropius´ aim was to give an end to class distinctions that opened a chasm between craftsmen and artists. He wanted to create a new architectural style to reflect the new era that had began with the end of World War II. Gropius got funding for the school from the Social Democrats, and therefore the school had the support of the party in power. However, when the party lost control of the state parliament, the nationalists took over and, since they were hostile to the Bauhaus's leftist curriculum, the school's funding was cut in half and the institution was soon closed.

Due to hostilities, on April 1925 the Bauhaus institute had to change its location from Wiemar to Dessau. During the 1920s, however, the Nazi Party and other fascist political groups were in opposition to the ideas of the Bauhaus and, in 1933, the school was closed again and many of its members emigrated to the United States. In 1937 the school was reopened in Chicago under the direction of László Moholy-Nagy. He used the Bauhaus´curriculum and employed some of the staff from German schools who had moved to America because there was a lot of opposition to their ideas in Europe. After a new closure in 1938, the school was reopened under the name School of Design.

The style of the school was characterized by functional designs with no ornamentation. It pointed out the benefits of using basic materials with no decorations. Some of the most important artists and architects of the school were Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and László Moholy-Nagy, who founded the Graphic Institute of Chicago and taught using the Bauhaus´ teaching methods. The ideas of the Bauhaus contributed, among others, to the development of the style known as International Style.


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