Celebrating the centennial of the Bauhaus (1919–1933), An Ideal Unity will explore the artistic breadth and reach of the innovative school that integrated fine arts and design. In response to the rise of industrial production and the movement away from individually made objects, architect Walter Gropius founded the school in Weimar, Germany, aspiring to unify the arts through craft. The goals of the institution grew to include creating an aesthetic that served the modern industrial society, designing for mass production, and incorporating technology to improve quality of life. All students began a preliminary course that focused on materials, color theory, and formal relationships before moving into a more specialized workshop in metalworking, cabinetmaking, weaving, pottery, typography, or wall painting. An incubator for thought and experimentation, the Bauhaus invited students from around the world to rethink modes of making.
Though the Bauhaus closed in 1933 due to the rise of the Nazi regime, its influence continues to impact generations of artists, designers, and craftspeople. The theories and practices of the Bauhaus spread around the world as former teachers and students returned home or fled Europe during the second World War.
Including photographs, prints, drawings, and decorative arts from NOMA’s permanent collection, An Ideal Unity underscores the principles of the Bauhaus aesthetic and mission. Works by Bauhaus teachers and students currently on view in NOMA’s permanent collection installations will be identified to further highlight the school’s pivotal role in modern art and design.