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(bou`hous), artists' collective and school of art and architecture in Germany (1919–33). The Bauhaus revolutionized art training by combining the teaching of classic arts with the study of crafts. In practice, a team of architects, artists, and master craftsmen conducted hands-on workshops in such areas as industrial design, sculpture, architecture, cabinetmaking, metalwork, painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, and weaving. Students were also trained in the basics of color, form, and material. Philosophically, the school was built on the idea that design did not merely reflect society, but could actually help to improve it.

Founded at Weimar in 1919, the Bauhaus was headed by Walter GropiusGropius, Walter
, 1883–1969, German-American architect, one of the leaders of modern functional architecture. In Germany his Fagus factory buildings (1910–11) at Alfeld, with their glass curtain walls, metal spandrels, and discerning use of purely industrial
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 who conceived of it as a way to combine beauty and simplicity, utility and mass production. The faculty included Paul KleeKlee, Paul
, 1879–1940, Swiss painter, graphic artist, and art theorist, b. near Bern. Klee's enormous production (more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, and etchings) is unique in that it represents the successful combination of his sophisticated theories of art with a
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, Lyonel FeiningerFeininger, Lyonel
, 1871–1956, American painter and illustrator, b. New York City. Feininger studied painting in Berlin, Hamburg, and Paris. He was an illustrator and caricaturist for several periodicals in Paris and in Germany and had a weekly comic page (1906–7) in
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, Wassily KandinskyKandinsky, Wassily or Vasily
, 1866–1944, Russian abstract painter and theorist. Usually regarded as the originator of abstract art, Kandinsky abandoned a legal career for painting at 30 when he moved to Munich.
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, László Moholy-NagyMoholy-Nagy, László
, 1895–1946, Hungarian painter, designer, and experimental photographer. He turned to art after studying law. While living in Berlin he was one of the founders of constructivism, experimenting with photograms and translucent materials.
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, Marcel BreuerBreuer, Marcel Lajos
, 1902–81, American architect and furniture designer, b. Hungary. During the 1920s he was associated, both as student and as teacher, with the Bauhaus in Germany.
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, and Josef and Anni AlbersAlbers, Josef
, 1888–1976, German-American painter, printmaker, designer, and teacher, b. Bottrop, Germany. After working at the Bauhaus (1920–33), Albers and his wife, the textile designer and weaver Anni Albers, emigrated to the United States when Hitler came to
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. The Bauhaus teaching plan insisted on functional craftsmanship in every field, with a concentration on the industrial problems of mechanical mass production. The school sometimes sold a line of products, which was mainly produced by the unpaid labor of the student body (about 150 individuals). Bauhaus style was characterized by economy of method, a severe geometry of form, and design that took into account the nature of the materials employed. The school's concepts aroused vigorous opposition from right-wing politicians and academicians.

In 1925 the Bauhaus moved to the more friendly atmosphere of Dessau, where Gropius designed special buildings to house the various departments. This was also the year that one of the Bauhaus's most successful products, Breuer's tubular steel and leather chair, was created. Gropius resigned in 1928, and leadership passed to the architect Hannes MeyerMeyer, Hannes
, 1889–1954, Swiss architect. Meyer was a lecturer and studio master at the Bauhaus in Dessau. He succeeded Gropius as its director (1928–30). Meyer is noted for his rejection of the concept of individual design in favor of designs produced by the
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. He in turn was replaced in 1930 by Ludwig Mies van der RoheMies van der Rohe, Ludwig
, 1886–1969, German-American architect. A pioneer of modern architecture and one of its most influential figures, he is famous for his minimalist architectural dictum "less is more." In Germany, he was an assistant to Peter Behrens.
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, who in an effort to save the Bauhaus made a number of conservative changes. Nonetheless, in the summer of 1932 opposition to the school had increased to such an extent that the city of Dessau withdrew its support. The school was then moved to Berlin, where the faculty endeavored to carry on their ideas, but in 1933 the Nazi government closed the school entirely.

The Bauhaus ideas, enveloping design in architecture, furniture, weaving, and typography, among others, had by this time found wide acclaim in many parts of the world and especially in the United States. Gropius himself went to the United States and taught at Harvard, where he exercised considerable influence. Josef and Anni Albers also emigrated to the United States, where they brought the Bauhaus philosophy to Yale. The Chicago Institute of Design, founded by Moholy-Nagy, most completely carried on the teaching plan of the Bauhaus. In New York City, the Museum of Modern ArtMuseum of Modern Art
(MoMA), New York City, established and incorporated in 1929. It is privately supported. Alfred H. Barr, Jr., was its first director. Operating at first in rented galleries, the museum specialized in loan shows of contemporary European and American art.
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, founded in 1929, was organized according to Bauhaus departmental structure, similarly included a wide variety of media, and followed Bauhaus principles in its approach to design.


See W. Gropius, The New Architecture and the Bauhaus (rev. ed. 1955); H. M. Wingler, The Bauhaus, ed. by J. Stein (1969); M. Franciscono, Walter Gropius and the Creation of the Bauhaus (1971); E. S. Hochman, Bauhaus: Crucible of Modernism (1997); B. Bergdoll et al., Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity (MOMA museum catalog, 2009); N. Fox Weber, The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters of Modernism (2009); U. Müller, Bauhaus Women: Art, Handicraft, Design (2009); P. Oswalt, ed., Bauhaus Conflicts, 1919–2009 (2010).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also, Hochschule für Bau und Gestaltung), an educational institution and architectural-artistic association in Germany. It was founded in 1919 by the architect W. Gropius in Weimar and transferred to Dessau in 1925. It was disbanded by the fascists in 1933. The leading members of the Bauhaus, guided by the aesthetic principles of functionalism, sought to develop universal principles of modern plastic art. They wished to find a complex artistic resolution of the contemporary material everyday environment; they developed the ability of their students to comprehend new materials and structures aesthetically and creatively and taught them to grasp the specific beauty of functionally designed objects which were created under the modern conditions of machine production. A major element of the educational process in the Bauhaus was practical work experience in industrial, artistic, and design workshops, where, along with their educational studies, the students worked on architectural projects (including models of residential houses), models of industrial mass-produced articles (mainly furniture, lamps, and textiles), decorative paintings, and sculpture. Teaching and creative experimentation in the Bauhaus were conducted by outstanding architects of the functional school (W. Gropius, H. Meyer, and L. Mies van der Rohe), pioneers of modern design (J. Itten and L. Moholy-Nagy), and some avant-garde artists (P. Klee, W. Kandinsky, L. Feininger, and O. Schlemmer).

The theoretical and practical activity of the Bauhaus played an important role in asserting the principles of rationalism in 20th century world architecture and in creating the foundations of modern design. In the field of visual arts, the Bauhaus was the center of world formalism. Its theoreticians and principal inspirers expressed erroneous views on the nature and aim of art and denied the ideological nature of art as they denied realism.


Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar, 1919–23 [1923].
Bauhausbücher. (Series; from 1925.)
“Bauhaus”: Zeitschrift für Bau und Gestaltung. (A journal; from 1926.)


Gropius, W. Idee und Aufbau des Staatlichen Bauhauses Weimar. Munich, 1923.
Argan, G. C. W. Gropius e la Bauhaus, 2nd ed. [Turin, 1957].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A school of design established in Weimar, Germany, by Walter Gropius in 1919. The term became virtually synonymous with modern teaching methods in architecture and the applied arts, and with a functional aesthetic for the industrial age; often characterized by emphasis on functional design, the use of a repetitive interval between members of the framework of a building, and the maintenance of purely geometric forms. Often, major building components such as bays, doors, and windows are placed to coincide with this repetitive interval, although the building itself may be asymmetrical.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a. a German school of architecture and applied arts founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius on experimental principles of functionalism and truth to materials. After being closed by the Nazis in 1933, its ideas were widely disseminated by its students and staff, including Kandinsky, Klee, Feininger, Moholy-Nagy, and Mies van der Rohe
b. (as modifier): Bauhaus wallpaper
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005