Bauhaus | Anna Powell Lecture

Today’s lecture was focused on Bauhaus. We were to study the school as well as members of the innovative movement.


The Bauhaus was an art school in Germany, founded by Walter Gropius, which combined crafts and the fine arts rather than having the two separately and played an important role in unpinning the modern movement, home of the ordered, clean exact design. The Bauhaus was famous for its publications and approach, being a profound influence within the developments of: art, architecture, typography, graphic and industrial design.

In the early years of Bauhaus, it did not have an architecture department, but founded with the idea of creating a total work of art within all the arts, therefore including architecture and would eventually be brought together. The style of Bauhaus became one of the most influential currents in modern design, modernist architecture, and design and art education.

The school existed in three German cities by three different directors until it was closed by its own leadership under pressure from the Nazi regime. The Nazi government claimed that it was a centre of communist intellectualism. Although the school was closed, the members continued to spread Bauhaus’s idealistic precepts as they left Germany, and emigrated all over the world; thus taking Bauhaus with them.

For Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus was a laboratory of the arts in which traditional apprentice and master model was maintained, but where diverse disciplines were interconnected in a completely new way. Its outcome was not established from the start, but discovered with research and experimentation- which Gropius called “fundamental research” applied to all disciples and products.

The school being closed obviously effected the duration of the Bauhaus movement; it operated from 1919- 1933, and reason for its end is mainly due to the political harassment. Its forms of art and design communication were to contribute to the improvement of culture and society and each discourse was to play a role in their utopian vision. Despite its end, the emphasis on rationality, grids, sans serifs and a link with contemporary art movements such as De Stijl, provided an important foundation for the new typography and later on the international typographic style.


Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky, 1866-1944, was an influential Russian painter and art theorist.  He is best known for his purely abstract works amongst his work for the Bauhaus movement. Being educated in Law and Economics, Kandinsky only began painting at the age of 30; however, the Russian artist is well known within the art and design world.


It was in Germany 1922 in which he began teaching at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture until the closing of the school in 1933 due to the Nazi influence.  Kandinsky taught the basic design class for beginners and the course on advanced theory as well as conducting painting classes. After Bauhaus, Kandinsky moved to France which is when he produces some of his most prominent work.

Geometrical elements took place on increasing importance in both his painting as well as teaching, in particular with painting, he used the circle, half-circle, the angle, straight lines and curves. The period at Bauhaus school was intensely productive and his freedom was characterised by use of colours and gradations in which Kandinsky illustrates his distance from the Constructivism and Suprematism movements’ influential at the time.


As Kandinsky was one of the first explores of the principles of nonrepresentational abstraction, he became one of the most influential of his generation. Kandinsky can be considered an artist who paved the way for abstract expressionism but his influence in 20th century art was increased by his activities as a theorist and teacher. He published the first theoretical treatise on abstraction in which spread throughout Europe. Kandinsky believed that abstract painting was the most difficult kind of painting.  It demands that you can draw well, have a keen eye for composition and colours and to be a true poet- being essential. In the lecture we did the colour shape test in which we situated a colour onto the shapes: triangle, square and circle. According to Kandinsky you should associate each shape with a colour.



We then moved on to talking about Joseph Albers’ 10 stencils components


Using to basic shapes, Albers created his own typeface. We then tried this ourselves and it proved quite difficult.

Overall I found this lecture rather interesting. I learnt more about the Bauhaus movement, but in particular the members of Bauhaus and the school.