The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus

Background information

The Bauhaus is an art and design school in Weimar, Germany. The school was founded by  Walter Gropius in 1919. Gropius was an architect and is widely thought of as “one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture” (wiki).

The curriculum of this institution goes as follows:

“Students at the Bauhaus took a six-month preliminary course that involved painting and elementary experiments with form, before graduating to three years of workshop training by two masters: one artist, one craftsman. They studied architecture in theory and in practice, working on the actual construction of buildings. The creative scope of the curriculum attracted an extraordinary galaxy of teaching staff. Among the stars were Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Schlemmer, the painter and mystic Johannes Itten, László Moholy-Nagy, Josef Albers and Marcel Breuer. Bauhaus students were in day-to-day contact with some of the most important practicing artists and designers of the time.”

(Design History, 2010)

What did the Bauhaus contribute to art education?

The Bauhaus was the first modern art school that combined fine art and arts and crafts, this has influenced 20th Century art and it has developed Graphic Design to what it is today (Design is History, n.d.). The Bauhaus took in many influences to its work such as De StijlDadaConstructivism and Expressionism of which you can clearly see (History of Graphic Design, n.d.).

What was the underlying principle behind Herbert Bayer’s universal alphabet?

Herbert Bayer was a student and teacher at the Bauhaus, he was the first lecturer on typography and he created the first all lowercase type. He created this type because the German blackletter types were not his taste as he felt that the “capital letters for every proper noun was annoying” (Design is History, Bayer, n.d.).

László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy was one of the key players in the development of graphic design in the Bauhaus. Moholy-Nagy replaced  Johannes Itten as director of the Bauhaus in 1923. He developed and experimented in many different fields to do with graphic design such as photographytypography,  sculpturepaintingindustrial design and printmaking. He is mainly recognised for his bold typography and striking photography which is clearly influenced by Constructivism ( Design is History, Moholy-Nagy,n.d.).

Does the Bauhaus still influence the world of design?

When the Bauhaus first opened it “was a Modernist utopian project like no other” (MacCarthy, 2007). Due to this considered radical movement it took a while for the public to realise the unique quality that they had within their designs and typeface, that would lead the design world to modernism. Even to this day the movement still influences design work like the poster for android smart phone.


Wikipedia, 2011, Walter Gropius [17/10/2011]

Design History, 2010, The Bauhaus, Lecture Topics 2010 [17/10/2011]

Design is History, n.d., The Bauhaus, [17/10/2011]

History of Graphic Design, n.d., The Bauhaus [17/10/2011]

Design is History, n.d., Herbery Bayer, [17/10/2011]

Design is History, n.d., László Moholy-Nagy [17/10/2011]

MacCarthy Fiona, Fiona MacCarthy on the influence of Bauhaus, The Guardian, 17/11/2007, [18/10/2011]


2 thoughts on “The Bauhaus

  1. When you take an art course on color theory, you can thank Johannes Itten for laying much of the foundation for what you’re being taught!

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