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Expressionism - Bauhaus
Architectural and Artistic Movement 1919-1933

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Bauhaus is the German school of architecture and design that had inestimable influence on modern architecture, the industrial and graphic arts, and theatre design. It was founded in Weimar in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius as an amalgamation of the Weimar Academy of Fine Arts and the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts. The principles of the Bauhaus, based on those of the 19th-century English craftsman and writer William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, were that art should meet the needs of society and that no distinction should be made between fine arts and practical crafts. They also depended on the more forward-looking principles that modern art and architecture must be responsive to the needs and influences of the modern industrial world and that good design must be both aesthetically pleasing and technically sound. Thus, classes were offered in crafts, typography, and commercial and industrial design, as well as in sculpture, painting, and architecture.  

The Bauhaus style, also known as the International Style, was marked by the absence of ornament and ostentatious façades and by harmony between function and the artistic and technical means of manufacture.

Bauhaus. Photograph of Museum Building in Berlin. German Federal Republic 1983. Bauhaus. Commemorative issue for Bauhaus' 50th anniversary.

In 1925 the Bauhaus was moved into a group of starkly rectangular glass and concrete buildings in Dessau especially designed for it by Gropius. 

In Dessau the Bauhaus style became more strictly functional, with greater emphasis on showing the beauty and suitability of basic, unadorned materials. 

  • Bauhaus Building in Dessau. Photograph by courtesy of Bauhaus-Archiv Museum. 

  • DDR 1990. Bauhaus Building in Dessau. 

Bauhaus. Photograph of the Bauhaus Building in Dessau. DDR 1990. Bauhaus. Bauhaus Building in Dessau.  Stamp #3.

In 1930 the Bauhaus came under the direction of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who moved it to Berlin in 1932. By 1933, when the school was closed by the Nazis, its principles and work were known worldwide. Many of its staff members emigrated to the United States where they continued their career. 

In 1996 Bauhaus and its sites in Weimar and Dessau (Germany) was declared World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. 
Germany 2002. Bauhaus. Bauhaus buildings in Weimar and Dessau. Germany 2004. Bauhaus. Bauhaus Building in Dessau. DDR 1990. Bauhaus. Bauhaus Building in Dessau.  Stamp #1. DDR 1990. Bauhaus. Bauhaus Buildings in Wwimar. Stamp #2.

Switzerland 1979. Bauhaus. Paul Klee, Portrait. Commemorative issue of Paul Klee, in the series "Swiss by Choice".

Quite a number of artists were associated with Bauhaus, among them the Swiss painter Paul Klee (1879-1940), the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), the German Josef Albers, and Hungarian born Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. 

Due to current copyright legislation I am unable to show any images of art works on stamps by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky until 70 years after their death.  For Klee such images will be available in 2010, and for Kandinsky in 2014. 

  • Switzerland 1979.  Portrait of Paul Klee (from the Swiss series of "Swiss by Choice").
German Federal Republic 1983. Bauhaus. Commemorative issue for Bauhaus's 50th Anniversary. Josef Albers. German Federail Republic 1983. Bauhaus. Commemorative issue for Bauhaus's 50th Anniversary. aszlo Moholy-Nagy. German Federal Republic 1993. Bauhaus. Contemporary Art. Josef Albers.

The White City of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed as a metropolitan city under the British Mandate in Palestine. The White City was constructed from the early 1930s until the 1950s, based on the urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes, reflecting modern organic planning principles. The buildings were designed by architects who were trained in Europe where they practised their profession before immigrating. They created an outstanding architectural ensemble of the Modern Movement in a new cultural context. In 2003 The White City of Tel Aviv was designated a World Cultural Heritage property. 

Israel 1994. Bauhaus. The White City of Tel Aviv.

UNESCO's justification for inscription reads: 
The White City of Tel Aviv is a synthesis of outstanding significance of the various trends of the Modern Movement in architecture and town planning in the early part of the 20th century. Such influences were adapted to the cultural and climatic conditions of the place, as well as being integrated with local traditions. The new town of Tel Aviv is an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century, adapted to the requirements of a particular cultural and geographic context.

After World War II the teachings of the Bauhaus came to dominate art and architecture for decades and strongly contributed to the architectural style known as International Style. 

Sources and links:  

Leading architects of the Bauhaus Movement. Click on any of the active links to see the works of the individual architects, Artists marked with an asterisk are represented on this page.  

  • Josef Albers * (German painter)

  • Lionel Feininger (American painter) 

  • Walter Gropius (German born American architect) 

  • Wassily Kandinsky (Russian painter) 

  • Paul Klee * (Swiss painter) 

  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy * (Hungarian painter) 

  • Mies van der Rohe (German born American architect)

  • Oscar Niemeyer (Brazilian architect) 

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Revised 24-jul-2006. Ann Mette Heindorff
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