Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Women in ART History - Part 2 (Women of the Bauhaus)

The Bauhaus (1919-1933) was a fine arts, crafts and architectural school in Germany. So many of the designs in buildings, furniture and fine art owe their beginnings to the Bauhaus.

It was the first school to enroll women. (Last week, I mentoned that most female artists had to take private lessons during the previous century.) The women flocked to the school in such numbers that the school began to limit the number of women as to keep enough space for the men. 

In spite of being so far ahead in designs and crafts, the

school clung to the same notions about women. That is, the women were considered too delicate and weak to take up carpentry or and materials involved in sculpture. They were left with choosing only in the "soft arts." Namely, the type of domestic crafts that had been considered women's works. Hence, painting and soft fiber works were taught. 

In some areas, women's soft art was combined or added to the men's design. 

For example, a chair would be developed by a man while the upholstery would be made by women. Another example might be that men designed a building and women provided the wall decor in tapestries or other woven art. 

Yet, there were a few women who escaped the strictures of the school. Here are a few who were so exceptional that they were the forerunners of the women who would come after them: 

(Enlarge images for better viewing)

Alma Siedhoff-Buscher (1899-1944) managed to get into the wood-carving section on the basis that she wanted to design for children. (Below is a toy with a carrying box and also a cabinet she designed.)

Marianne Brandt (1893-1983) was also able to move into scultpture of a utiliarian nature due to her background as a skilled photographer, which meant excellent photo lab skills, and her ability to arrange designs.

Anni Albers (1899-1994) decided to weave in the most modern products of the times. She used copper wire and cellophane; thereby creating new and different compositions.

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