Dance you monster…, Klee
Red Balloon, Klee
Triadic Ballet, Gropius
Wall Hanging, Albers
The Bauhaus art and design movement began in 1919 in Weimar, Germany. The school was founded by architect Walter Gropius who was inspired by Expressionist art and the works of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and designer William Morris.
Bauhaus proposed a more geometric and abstract approach, it had little time for emotional or classical references. Bauhaus proposed that students, teachers, designers, architects and artists pursue combining crafts in design studios and workshops with a utopian goal. Its austere principles were applied across architecture, furniture-making, metalworking, painting, stained glass,textile design, theater design, typography, woodworking.
No distinction was made between applied and fine arts. Though fine art became more significant after 1927 following a free painting class offered by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. Futurism and Cubism interacted and shaped the Bauhaus school.
Oskar Schlemmer taught design, sculpture and murals at the school through the 1920s but he progressively focused on theatre, believing ballet and pantomime to be the more unfettered forms. His saw the human body as an artistic medium. For his Triadic Ballet, he dressed dancers in geometric costumes of carboard, metal and wood to transform them into kinetic sculptures, some suggest there was a burlesque influence.
The school was moved to Dessau in 1925. Under increasing interference by the Nazi party it moved to Berlin in 1932, and finally closed.
|Dance You Monster to My Soft Song! enjoys an exclamation point at the end of the title, at once stern and genial. |
Less famous than his cousin Angelus Novus, this funny little monster from 1922 by Paul Klee has none of the bathos that typically attends the spiritual in art or, for that matter, the messianic thinking that the new angel has inspired in critical theory after Walter Benjamin.
Image source: Wikimedia commons
|Dance you Monster to my Soft Song!||1922||Watercolour, Oil paint, Gauze||Abstract|
|Klee, Paul||1879 – 1940, aged 60||Swiss-German artist||Bauhaus/Expressionism|
|Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York NY 10128, USA||35 x 29|
Image source: Wikimedia commons
|Paul Klee’s persistent shifts in style, technique, and subject matter indicate a deliberate and highly playful evasion of aesthetic categorisation. |
Nevertheless, it is virtually impossible to confuse a work by Klee with one by any other artist, even though many have emulated his idiosyncratic, enigmatic art.
So accepted was his work that Klee was embraced over the years by the Blue Rider group, the European Dada
contingent, the Surrealists, and the Bauhaus faculty, with whom he taught for a decade in Weimar and Dessau.
|Red Balloon||1922||Oil paint, Chalk, Muslin,||Abstract|
|Klee, Paul||1879 – 1940, aged 60||Swiss-German artist||Bauhaus/Cubism|
|Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York NY 10128, USA||32 x 31|
|Triadisches Ballett (Triadic Ballet) is a ballet developed by Oskar Schlemmer. The ballet became the most widely performed avant-garde artistic dance and while Schlemmer was at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1929, the ballet toured, helping to spread the ethos of the Bauhaus. |
The idea of the ballet was based on the principle of the trinity. It has 3 acts, 3 participants (2 male, 1 female), 12 dances and 18 costumes. Each act had a different colour and mood. The first three scenes, against a lemon yellow background to affect a cheerful, burlesque mood; the two middle scenes, on a pink stage, festive and solemn and the final three scenes, on black, were intended to be mystical and fantastic.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
Images source: Wikimedia commons
|Gropius, Walter||1883-1968, aged 86||German architect||Bauhaus|
|Image source: wassily-kandinsky.org||Yellow-Red-Blue was created by Wassily Kandinsky in 1925. The primary colours on the painting feature squares, circles and triangles and there are abstract shapes mixed in with these. |
There are also straight and curved black lines that go through the colours and shapes. This is to help provoke deep thought in the person viewing the piece.
Yellow-Red-Blue can actually be divided in half with how different each of the sides are. The left side has rectangles, squares and straight lines in bright colours while the right side features darker colours in various abstract shapes.
These two sides show different influences and are meant to create varied emotions in the viewer.
|Kandinsky, Wassily||1866-1944, aged 78||Russian artist||Bauhaus|
|Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris France||127 x 200|
|Moholy-Nagy played a key role at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau as a painter, graphic artist, teacher, and impassioned advocate of avant-garde photography. |
He made this image without a camera by placing ordinary objects, including his hand and a paintbrush, on a sheet of photosensitized paper and exposing it to light. While this simple process was practiced by photography’s founders in the nineteenth century and was later popularized as a child’s amusement, avant-garde artists in the twentieth century revived the photogram technique as a means for exploring the optical and expressive properties of light.
With this shadow-image of a hand and paintbrush, Moholy-Nagy ambitiously suggests that photography may incorporate, and even transcend, painting as the most vital medium of artistic expression in the modern age.
Image source: metmuseum.org
|Photogram (Fotogramm)||1926||Gelatin silver print||Photograph|
|Moholy-Nagy, László||1895-1946, aged 51||Hungarian/American artist||Bauhaus|
|Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY||33 x 28|
Image source: moma.org
|These rectilinear abstract designs based on colour relationships reflect the principles of Albers’s studies at the Bauhaus. |
Philip Johnson, The Museum of Modern Art’s curator of architecture, invited Anni and her husband, Josef, to teach at the newly created Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where Anni ran the weaving program from 1933 to 1949.
A gifted teacher, she relied heavily on her Bauhaus experience of hands–on experimentation with materials and of focus on the industrial aspects of textile production. Through Johnson she became the first textile artist to be given a one–person exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, in 1949.
|Albers, Anni||1899-1994, aged 94||German/American||Bauhaus|
|MOMA, Museum of Modern Art, NY||35 x 24|
|Stand back from this Homage to the Square and look at the whole thing. |
What is the relationship between the squares? Are they stacked on top of each other, like cut out pieces of construction paper? Are they sinking underneath each other, as if you are looking at a painting of a tunnel? Do some appear to push toward you and others to fall away? And how does it change between each version of the painting?
Looking at the pieces, you may find that you are able to force your eyes to see a stack of blocks or a tunnel, or you may find that you are instinctively drawn to one interpretation of how the squares are arranged. This is exactly the principle that Albers experimented with as he produced hundreds of variations on this theme over a period of about 25 years.
Image source: Wikimedia commons
|Dissolving/Vanishing: Homage to the Square series||1951||Oil/Masonite||Abstract|
|Albers, Josef||1888-1976, aged 87||German/American||Bauhaus|
|Los Angeles County Museum of Art||61 x 61|