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The Bauhaus and Harvard on View at the Harvard Art Museums

Expansive exhibition features works by major artists, including student exercises, design objects, photographs, textiles, typography, paintings, and archival materials.

Herbert Bayer, Design for a Multimedia Trade Fair Booth (1924). Opaque watercolor, charcoal and touches of graphite with collage of cut printed and colored papers on off-white wove paper. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of the artist, BR48.101. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

The Bauhaus and Harvard—mounted in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus—presents nearly 200 works by over 70 artists, drawn almost entirely from the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s extensive Bauhaus collection. Founded in Weimar, Germany, the Bauhaus was the 20th century’s most influential school of art, architecture, and design. In 1930, Harvard hosted the first Bauhaus exhibition in the United States and became a center for Bauhaus activity when the school’s founding director, Walter Gropius, joined Harvard’s architecture department in 1937. After World War II, with the aid of Gropius, the Busch-Reisinger Museum established a Bauhaus collection—today the largest of its kind outside Germany.

The exhibition features works by major artists, and presents rarely seen student exercises, iconic design objects, photographs, textiles, typography, paintings, and archival materials. It explores the school’s pioneering curriculum, the ways its workshops sought to revolutionize the experience of everyday life, the widespread influence of Bauhaus instruction in America, and Harvard’s own Graduate Center (1950), the first modernist building complex on campus, designed by Gropius’s firm The Architects Collaborative. A complementary exhibition installed in an adjacent gallery—Hans Arp’s Constellations II—features one of the site-specific works commissioned for the Graduate Center.

Learn more about Harvard’s Bauhaus collection via The Bauhaus, a comprehensive digital resource that provides public access to the more than 32,000 related objects in the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s collection.

The Bauhaus and Harvard is on view at the Harvard Art Museums through July 28, 2019.