Herbert Bayer and Bauhaus
101 years ago, Bauhaus was founded in Weimar, german. Despite its short existence, it managed to influence the world’s aesthetic for a century.
The minimalist aesthetic we indulge in elaborating on, like Muji, Apple, with their clean, basic features, and even the classic Kubrick 2001 space odyssey, all took inspiration from what Bauhaus left behind.
“The refinement of combining fine art, architecture and decorative art into a total work of art with meaning for future civilizations was lost by the mid 19th century when industrial development and emerging mass consumption created a huge gap between the spiritual world and the material world. Gone were unified works of art like the medieval cathedrals, built by generations of artisans, craftsmen, and sculptors in the service of the church and its ideals. ”(212 Lerner)
In the 19th century, the architecture design of its time pursues the most luxurious and pompous decoration. The more spectacular it is, the more it ignores the real needs of the general public, and it becomes a symbol of inequality. Also, society have grown mature and rigid due to industrialization, and the human division of labor was clear. The rigid division of labor led to a separation between people and society.
Under this background, groups of artists, architects were starting to realize the problem of society.
They hated the hierarchical order left by the decadent system of the old empire. The hierarchy reflects in economics and society, also permeated in many fields such as architecture, art, and design. Their goal is to break the boundary between art and industry, create art that can meet the requirement of the modern age.
“An essential principle which formed the basis for the Bauhaus is expressed in a few words taken from Gropius’s statement in 1923: ‘…the old dualistic world concept which envisaged the ego in opposition to the universe is rapidly losing ground. In its place is the rising idea of a universal unity in which all opposing force exists in a state of absolute balance.’” (81 Pritchard) In 1919, with the purpose of cultivating a group of artists who can understand the concept above, the school of Bauhaus was created. And the unique way of education challenged the basic education system.
Bauhaus may have more influences on architecture compared to other fields, however, it did influence graphic design in some extend. Among all the graphic designers who took inspiration from Bauhaus school, Herbert Bayer is one of the most well-known ones. He was famous for designing the universal font, written on the Bauhaus school building.
I think that the Bauhaus movement should be in the textbook because unlike the former art styles that have disappeared in the modern days, Bauhaus is still influencing the design aesthetic today. The advocation of simplifying the complex, practical art style and concept made its products last, with no trace of age. Assumably Bauhaus will still inspire in the future.
Lerner, Fern. “Foundations for Design Education: Continuing the Bauhaus Vorkurs Vision.” Studies in Art Education, vol. 46, no. 3, 2005, pp. 211–226. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3497081. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.
PRITCHARD, JACK. “GROPIUS, THE BAUHAUS AND THE FUTURE.” Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, vol. 117, no. 5150, 1969, pp. 75–94. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41370286. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.