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Bauhaus Culture

From Weimar to the Cold War

2006

Kathleen James-Chakraborty, editor

Bauhaus Culture

Provides fresh insights on the Bauhaus from a historical perspective

Analyzes the accomplishments and dispels the myths of the Bauhaus, placing it firmly in a historical context from before the formation of the Weimar Republic through Nazi ascendancy and World War II into the Cold War.

Contributors: Greg Castillo, Juliet Koss, Rose-Carol Washton Long, John V. Maciuika, Wallis Miller, Winfried Nerdinger, Frederic J. Schwartz.

This book is a beautifully sequenced presentation of a whole generation of new work on the Bauhaus and its place in the larger understanding and narratives of twentieth century modernism.

Barry Bergdoll, co-editor of Mies in Berlin

Offering the first comprehensive training in the visual arts grounded in abstraction, the Bauhaus was the site of a dazzling range of influential experiments in painting, architecture, photography, industrial design, and even artistic education itself.

Three-quarters of a century later, the “look” of the new remains indebted to the Bauhaus and its equation of technology with modernism. Central to discussions of the relationships between art, industrialization, and politics in the twentieth century, much of the school’s later impact was derived in part from its status as one of the foremost cultural symbols of Germany’s first democracy and its public reputation as a “cathedral of socialism.”

In this book, editor Kathleen James-Chakraborty and seven other scholars analyze the accomplishments and dispel the myths of the Bauhaus, placing it firmly in a historical context from before the formation of the Weimar Republic through Nazi ascendancy and World War II into the cold war. Together, they investigate its professors’s and students’s interactions with mass culture; establish the complexity of its relationship with Wilhelmine, Nazi, and postwar German politics; and challenge the claim that its architects greatly influenced American architecture in the 1930s.

Their most explosive conclusions address the degree to which some aspects of Bauhaus design continued to flourish during the Third Reich before becoming one of the Cold War’s most enduring emblems of artistic freedom. In doing so, Bauhaus Culture calls into question the degree to which this influential school should continue to symbolize an uncomplicated relationship between art, modern technology, and progressive politics.

Contributors: Greg Castillo, Juliet Koss, Rose-Carol Washton Long, John V. Maciuika, Wallis Miller, Winifried Nerdinger, Frederic J. Schwartz.

Bauhaus Culture

Kathleen James-Chakraborty is associate professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of German Architecture for a Mass Audience and Erich Mendelsohn and the Architecture of German Modernism.

Bauhaus Culture

This book is a beautifully sequenced presentation of a whole generation of new work on the Bauhaus and its place in the larger understanding and narratives of twentieth century modernism.

Barry Bergdoll, co-editor of Mies in Berlin

Novel and instructive.

Times Literary Supplement

A closer look at the myths and realities of what many feel was one of the most influential movements in modern art. Scholarly and comprehensive.

Art Times

This readable, knowledgable and comprehensive work with aspects of social history and cultural studies holds rewards for both newcomers to Bauhaus and more advanced students of it and art history. Bauhaus Culture offers essay from art scholars analyzing accomplishments of the Bauhaus and adding the history essential to a thorough understanding of its unique role in the arts.

Midwest Book Review

In a new collection of essays thoughtfully edited by Kathleen James-Chakraborty, it is a cultural manifestation closely linked to the political and economic vicissitudes of its times.

Harvard Design Magazine

Bauhaus Culture is a well-balanced collection. Its tight conceptual structure holds the disparate essays together fairly well. The exceedingly well-written essays are a mix of new with re-published work that includes original scholarship as well as the translation and dissemination of important research.

The Art Book

The Bauhaus’s history as told in Bauhaus Culture: From Weimar to the Cold War is captivating and sobering.

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

Following a clearly chronological plan, the book comprehensively addresses how the cultural environment surrounding the Bauhaus should factor into our contemporary understanding of it.

Invisible Culture

Bauhaus Culture

List of Illustrations 
Acknowledgments

Introduction 
Kathleen James-Chakraborty

1. Wilhelmine Precedents for the Bauhaus: Hermann Muthesius, the Prussian State, and the German Werkbund 
John V. Maciuika

2. Henry van de Velde and Walter Gropius: Between Avoidance and Imitation 
Kathleen James-Chakraborty

3. From Metaphysics to Material Culture: Painting and Photography at the Bauhaus 
Rose-Carol Washton Long

4. Architecture, Building, and the Bauhaus 
Wallis Miller

5. Bauhaus Theater of Human Dolls 
Juliet Koss

6. Utopia for Sale: The Bauhaus and Weimar Germany’s Consumer Culture 
Frederic J. Schwartz

7. Bauhaus Architecture in the Third Reich 
Winfried Nerdinger

8. From Isolationism to Internationalism: American Acceptance of the Bauhaus 
Kathleen James-Chakraborty

9. The Bauhaus in Cold War Germany 
Greg Castillo

Notes 
Select Bibliography 
Contributors 
Index