The Bauhaus is the most celebrated artistic institution of our time. Its ideas transformed our urban Landscape. Nothing we read, wear, or live in is devoid of its influence. Yet there has never been a history of the Bauhaus and its fourteen tempestuous years, when those who taught there included Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Robe, Lyonel ...
The Bauhaus is the most celebrated artistic institution of our time. Its ideas transformed our urban Landscape. Nothing we read, wear, or live in is devoid of its influence. Yet there has never been a history of the Bauhaus and its fourteen tempestuous years, when those who taught there included Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Robe, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and many other great pioneers of modern art. It was here that the ideas that would dominate the world of art for the better part of this century clashed and became defined, in an era when the contest between ideologies was fought with the fervor of a religious war. Elaine S. Hochman's unprecedented access to the school's archives, formerly in East Germany, give this book an intimate and surprising view of the tumultuous day-to-day events that made the Bauhaus the world's most influential crucible of modernism.
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Publishers Weekly, 1997-04-14 Like her last book, Architects of Fortune: Mies van der Rohe and the Third Reich, Hochman has produced a meticulously researched, clearly written account of the political forces, economic climates and personalities behind the century's most influential school of art and architecture. In the first three chapters, Hochman details the personal history of Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus founder and first director, giving an empathetic description of his failings, ineptitudes and despairing moods. She then turns to the rise and fall of the Bauhaus, its shift from Weimar to Dessau, where it thrived during the turbulent inter-war period moving to Berlin, where it was closed by the Gestapo. Hochman manages to describe the complex web of politicians, painters, architects and historians involved, from details of their personal lives to the effects of strikes and town protests, with a strong focus that allows the reader to keep pace. The portrait that emerges is a school of conflicting ideals, aesthetic and political, often at the brink of dissolution, run by legendary modernists arguing with each other and falling into deep, dark depressions. For a school whose manifesto spoke of a harmonious co-mingling of the arts to create "the cathedral of the future" aiming for "spiritual revolution" and efficient, clean, machine-inspired aesthetics, the Nietzschean rages behind the walls reveal as much about the turbulent life of the school as the contradictory human motivations behind the ideals. This book is as useful to scholars and connoisseurs as it is accessible to the curious reader. (May)
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