An architect named Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in 1919 in Weimar, Germany. Gropius’ main objective of the school was to use each student’s creativity to change industrial and architectural ideas by integrating, into them, visual art. The Bauhaus sought to change the ideas of the industrial society that began in the beginning of the century. In the early Bauhaus, painters like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky joined the school to teach advanced ideas of form, color and space. Klee’s work used subject matter that translated into graphical signs and symbols that invoked strong visual communications.
He integrated modern art with the work of nonwestern cultures and children that charged visual communications. Kandinsky’s work at the school was based on his belief in the strong spiritual values of color and form. He taught his firm belief in the use of color and visual elements to depict the artist’s mood without the use of subject matter. Johannes Itten also played a major role in early Bauhaus. He taught a preliminary course in which his goals were to release each students creativity and to better their understanding of the physical nature of materials.
Itten emphasized visual contrasts and and the analysis of Old Master paintings. He eventually left the school in 1919 because of a disagreement of how the course was to be conducted. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy took Ittens place later that year. Moholy-Nagy was a relentless experimenter who brought in new materials such as acrylic resin and plastic and later introduced students to new techniques such as photomontage and photogram. He also placed great emphasis on the use of type as “a tool of communication”. The school eventually moved on to Dessau, Germany because of tension between the school and the Weimar government.
There was tension from the beginning but nothing was done until a new, more conservative administration had come into power. This led to the resignation of the director and it’s masters. Two weeks after this the students of the school each wrote letters to the government stating that they would be leaving along with the masters. The school was moved to a temporary facility in Dessau until a new school was designed and occupied in the fall of 1926. During the Dessau period the schools philosophy and identity came into full fruition. The Bauhaus Corp. s created, allowing the sale of prototypes created at the school to the industry. Ideas that came from the Bauhaus greatly influenced life in the 21st century. But now the masters were called professors and medieval masters, journeymen, and apprentice system was discarded. And in 1926 the Bauhaus was now called Hochschule fur Gestaltung (High School of Form). In 1926 Gropius resigned from his post to resume private arcitectual practices and at the same time Bayer and Moholy-Nagy both left the school to go to Berlin to continue in a career in graphic design and typography.
Hannes Meyer took on directorship of the school but left in 1930 because of conflicts with municipal authorities. Now Ludwig Mies van der Rohe took Meyer’s place as director. But in 1931 the Nazi party dominated the Dessau City Council and later closed the school in 1932. Mies van der Rohe tried to continue on. He moved the school to an empty telephone factory in Berlin but once again Nazi harassment made it impossible to keep the school open. In 1933 the faculty voted to close the school, thus bringing an end to the most important design school of the twentieth century.