The Harvard Art Museums announced on Monday that it has created a new and expansive online resource dedicated to the Bauhaus—the most influential design school of the twentieth century. The resource, which allows for unprecedented digital access into one of the first and largest collections of Bauhaus objects and ephemera in the world, is only the beginning in what will culminate in major exhibition at the Harvard Art Museums in 2019, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus.
Founded in 1919 in the city of Weimar, Germany by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus was in part shaped by the ideas of the Arts and Crafts Movement, but unlike the Arts and Crafts Movement which rejected the machine, the Bauhaus embraced it, blurring the lines between the arts, crafts and technology. The school was forced to shutdown in 1932 by the Nazis, but its legacy is still felt and seen today in the objects in our homes and in the architecture of our cities.
The school’s founder, Walter Gropius fled Nazi Germany and settled in Massachusetts, bringing with him the ideas that made the Bauhaus revolutionary in its time. Gropius joined the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1937 and went on to establish along with a few of his students, The Architects Collaborative-another influential architecture firm in the Boston area. In the 1930s, Boston became a hotbed for modernism thanks in part to the many artists and designers associated with the Bauhaus. Many of these artists and designers called the city their home or spent years teaching at Harvard, influencing the next generation of architects and designers.
Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Coffee and Tea Service: 5-Piece Set, 1924–25. Brass with mercury silvered interiors and ebony fixtures. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Hanna Lindemann, BR52.22-26. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photo: Harvard Art Museums, © President and Fellows of Harvard College.
The new online resource comprises of the Harvard Art Museums’ 32,000+ Bauhaus-related works, an essay on the connections of the Bauhaus and Harvard, an annotated map listing institutions, archives and architectural landmarks associated with the Bauhaus. The online resource also includes a comprehensive list of Bauhaus-related archives and exhibitions held across Harvard, as well as an extensive bibliography on the movement.
It’s okay, go ahead and procrastinate as much as you’d like by browsing this incredible resource on the most influential design school of the twentieth century.