Social, Political and Artistic Movements That Gave Birth to the Bauhaus Essay

Social, political and artistic movements that gave birth to the BAUHAUS movementThe styles that emerged during the Bauhaus movement have had an immense impact on culture and art the world over. Numerous aspects in the modern environment employ one or more of the styles established during the Bauhaus movement especially in areas such as furniture, weaving, architecture and typography (Stokstad, 1999). For instance, Bauhaus artist teachers like Feininger, Kandinsky and Klee are noted top have contributed immensely to painting in the whole of 20th century. Bauhaus was founded in 1919 in German by Walter Gropius as an arts and crafts institute. By extension, Bauhaus refers to an artistic movement that is mainly based on design and architecture as well as dance, photography and costumes. However, the Bauhaus movement was adversely affected by the advances of Nazism in 1933.

Gropius had a great interest for bauhutten which he sought to resurrect through the Bauhaus movement. The major emphasis of Bauhaus was on a cultural synthesis whose core objective was to unite the works of artists, architects and designers.A number of persistently evolving styles in Europe in the early 20th century were a great inspiration to the Bauhaus movement. These styles were established through movements such as expressionism, cubism and constructivism and many others.

These new art forms had never been experienced before even though the traditional forms of art still remained essential. The modernist movement contained the parenting period for most of these new styles and attitudes which were a great inspiration to the establishment of the Bauhaus movement (Arnason & Prather, 1998). This is because like Bauhaus, the modernist period (1880 to 1970) was characterized by numerous radical and rapid innovations in arts, painting and architectural styles. The new artistic movements and attitudes influenced the unification of art during the Bauhaus movement.

Expressionism and formalism are attributed to have inspired the Bauhaus movement socially through art. The formalists felt that modernism art styles were rather confusing and thus sought order and simplicity through formal arrangements in forms, colors and shapes as regard to art. Since Bauhaus movement reflected a new stage in artistic and architectural styles. Expressionism on the other hand encompassed manipulating the representational or formal art elements to relay intense feelings (Yakimovich, 2000).

Both expressionalism and formalism artists held the view that art could offer solutions to the basic problems of the modernism movement. Formalism and expressionalism further the modernism idea that conceptually and stylistically progressive art would be a useful element of social change. These attributes were an inspiration to most of the artists who played a key role in the formation of the Bauhaus movement.Modernism relied a lot on the expressionism movement which was inspired by the works of five major artists and hence five different styles that came about between 1880 and 1920. These artists constituted of Paul Cezanne, Henri de Tolulouse-Lautec, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh (1848-1903). For instance, Seurat and Guagin established a new style referred to as the avant-garde and also came up with the ideology of using art for social change. This was very important to the formation of the Bauhaus movement as it heavily incorporated the aspects of avant-garde (Stokstad, 1999). Cezanne on the other hand incorporates use of paintings that reflected an overall effect, an idea that was the basis for the Bauhaus movement.

The work of various other artists also had an immense impact through their work that represented a shift to a new era of representing art in different styles.The Cubism movement played a paramount role in the formation of the Bauhaus movement. This is because it led to a tremendous change in the manner in which painting was done. With cubism, the traditional three-dimensional representation in painting was defied with cubists resolving to redefine reality in a new and different style. Of importance to cubism were Pablo Picasso and George Braque (1882-1963).

In the early 20th century, “Les Demoiselles Avingon” by Picasso was perhaps the most compelling painting which according to Stokstad (1999), “shattered every pictorial and iconographical convection that preceded it”. Cubism was an extension of the expressionist art and also was a bridge to a new style of painting that became very vital in the formation of the Bauhaus movement as it broke the perspectives of the past. Picasso and Braque also contributed greatly to the Bauhaus architecture such as through the House on the Hill (Arnason & Prather, 1998). In years that followed, cubism contributed immensely towards the establishment of Bauhaus movement through various perspectives such as the analytic cubism and synthetic cubism. Response to cubism such as the Italian Futurism, Superism and Rayonism established new forms of multi-dimensional styles which Bauhaus artist borrowed from greatly. Dada, a metaphysical school, inspired the irrational and intuitive expression that was a great inspiration to the Bauhaus artists (Yakimovich, 2000). Dadaism (1915) gave way for imaginative artistic movements such as the Bauhaus.

Dadaists and expressionists artists of whom Gropius was one established the November Group which had an immense contribution to the Workers Council for Art which was a foundation for the Bauhaus movement.The impacts of the First World War such as inflation and poverty exacted a renewed consciousness which had a tremendous influence on architecture, design and art. In the midst of these influences, the Bauhaus movement developed as a reaction to the changes in the social arena which inspired an aesthetic relevance (Stokstad, 1999).

There had been a conflict in Germany in 1914 which featured substantial support of the middle class on all sides. This conflict resulted into a great hatred for the perpetrators of the conflict and a revolt by the German soldiers against their bosses. These events served as the basis for the foundation of the Bauhaus movement since most of the movement’s students and artists were war veterans. For in stance, Gropius fought on the western front during the conflict.

The 1917’s Russian revolution became an inspiration for a far reaching enthusiasm in revolutionary politics and most importantly in social experiments in Germany and other places. A successful Marxist-led revolutionary experiment exacted an intense interest in social experiments which inspired new experiments in artistic, painting and architectural works and this became the foundation of the Bauhaus movement. In a support to the Marxist language, Gropius said, “Let us create a new guild of craftsmen, without the class distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist” (Arnason & Prather, 1998). Gropius and other Bauhaus artists established the Bauhaus movement under the inspiration of the Marxist revolution. Thus is because the founding philosophy of Bauhaus promised solutions to the more similar problems as the ones that had inspired the Marxist philosophy. The very first adherents of the Bauhaus movements were largely focused on an arts and craft tradition which drew a lot of inspiration from the earlier utopian socialism.In 1918 the German revolution took place following the discretion of the German Kaiser and the transformation of the German empire into the German republic. Shortly after, power passed over to the soldier’s councils and grassroots workers through out the country and hence led to the consolidation of power on the centrist Social Democratic Party.

The most important aspect of the workers movement was the enormous influence exacted through artists (Yakimovich, 2000). For instance, Gropius headed the Working Council on the Arts, an architect led council in 1919 which authored the ‘Appeal to the Artists of All Countries’. The aftermath of the revolution thus inspired to a great extent the advances of the Working Council of the Arts which played a central role in the establishment of the Bauhaus movement through Gropius.Between 1918 and 1919, the civil war between the socialist based left and the still-monarchist right led to a radical agitation which caused the collapse of the SDP and the seizure of power by the Freikorps. Frequent upheavals in Berlin in 1919 saw the complete ruin of the left workers movement.

The rise of the still-monarchist right of which most of the Bauhaus artists fought at the western wing inspired a transformation of artistic styles through the influence of Gropius and his students (Stokstad, 1999). Gropius involvement in the still-monarchist affairs prompted a political will that facilitated for the establishment of the Bauhaus movement. It is indisputable that the formation of the Bauhaus movement was inspired by aspects from all corners of life.ReferencesArnason, H. H & Prather, M.

(1998). History of Modern Art, (4th Edn.). New Jersey: PrenticeHall, Inc.

Stokstad, M. (1999). Art History. (Revised Edition). New York: Harry N.

Abrams, Inc.Yakimovich, A. (2000). Realism of the 20ths Century.

Moscow: Olma Press.