MFA Displays Prints from Germany’s Famed Bauhaus School

bauhaus


Prints from Staatliches Bauhaus—the German school of art, architecture, and design open from 1919 to 1933—are featured in Radical Geometries, an exhibit in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts that opened on Feb. 9. It will be open until March 21.

Founded by Walter Gropius, the school featured a cast of artists from all over the globe, such as Josef Albers from Germany, Wassily Kandinsky from Russia, and Lyonel Feninger from the United States.

The exhibit, which is held in honor of the school’s centennial, showcases the school’s integration of architectural design elements and geometric aesthetics into art. The MFA stated on its website that it includes 60 works on paper, which consists of prints, drawings, photographs, and postcards artistically crafted by students and faculty.

The environment and atmosphere of the exhibit reflected and complemented the minimalistic tone of the art. The black walls contrasted with the geometrically intricate white prints, and a projector screen within the exhibit displayed the designs as moving images.

Sandra, an MFA member who said she attends all new exhibits at the museum, said that she enjoyed the combination of art and technology more than she thought she would, and that it was not as cut and dry as she had anticipated.

“Rather than the individual handcrafted work of art, focus at the Bauhaus was on the development of well-designed everyday objects that could be mass produced,” read an introduction label from the exhibit.

According to the MFA’s website, training at the school began with basic design principles, and later courses on wood, metal, ceramics, glass, and textiles.

One piece, a photograph by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, featured diagonal lines and patterns of light and dark.

Moholy-Nagy also created art using a form called photogram, which creates a negative shadow when objects are placed on light sensitive paper and then exposed to light. The artist referred to this cameraless art medium as “the materialization of light.”

Another set of prints by Albers depicted black lines on graph paper that were made to look as though they were created by a machine. The titles of the pieces, “Shrine,” “Interim,” and “Ascension” reflect the spiritual leanings of the pieces, while the designs themselves were influenced by Albers’ appreciation for pre-Columbian architecture, the label said.

Numerous members echoed a newfound appreciation for architecture and art crafts after viewing the exhibit and said that they were drawn to it from concurrent lectures held by the MFA and Harvard University.

Even after the Bauhaus school’s termination in 1933, the Bauhaus movement lived on in the U.S. According to the MFA, Boston-area artist Richard Filipowski collaborated with faculty from the Bauhaus after they immigrated to America. One of his works created at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design—a colorful blend of red, yellow, and black circular shapes and curved lines—is included with many other lining the wall of the exhibit.

“The goals Gropius set for the Bauhaus—collaboration across disciplines, harmony between form and function, and the integration of art and technology—have had a lasting impact on the fields of architecture and industrial graphic design,” a label in the exhibit read. “This year, exhibitions around the world celebrate its enduring legacy.”

Featured Image by Nestoras Apodiakos / For the Heights