Cover image for The Bauhaus and America : first contacts, 1919-1936
Title:
The Bauhaus and America : first contacts, 1919-1936
Author:
Kentgens-Craig, Margret, 1948-
Uniform Title:
Bauhaus-Architektur. English
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xx, 283 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Corporate Subject:
ISBN:
9780262112376
Format :
Book

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N332.G33 B447513 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

The Bauhaus school was founded in Weimar in 1919 by the German architect Walter Gropius, moved to Dessau in 1925 and to Berlin in 1932, and was dissolved in 1933 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe under political duress. Although it only existed for 14 years and boasted fewer than 1300 students, its influence is felt throughout the world in numerous buildings, artworks, objects, concepts and curricula.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Two solid additions to architecture titles in library collections have their fanciful sides as well. When architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe came to the U.S., he brought along with him many of the ideas developed by the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus, although not an architectural "movement" per se, is one of this century's most important influences on modern architecture. Began by architect Walter Gropius as an artistic-work collective in Weimar, Germany, in 1919, the Bauhaus almost instantly gained fame and notoriety throughout the architectural and artistic world. Their philosophies were disbanded by the Nazi regime in 1936, and many of the leading figures of the Bauhaus emigrated to the U.S., teaching in some of the most prestigious design programs in the country. Their impressive academic appointments and the almost immediate acceptance of their architectural style allows the assumption that the road had already been well paved for Bauhaus advancement in America. In this interesting look at the first and earliest impressions of the Bauhaus on the American architectural world, Kentgens-Craig proves her point that the early contact America had with the Bauhaus allowed the transition of its notable ideas to formulate what came to be known as an essentially American style of skyscrapers and structures. An excellent historical look at the early reception of the Bauhaus within the country that allowed its ideas to blossom. Jutting out dramatically from a rocky enclave on the coast of the Isle of Capri, Malaparte is a daring experiment in modernist and fascist architecture, with bizarre hearkenings to classical, ecclesiastical, and pagan motifs. Once hailed as "the most beautiful house in the world," the place was built in 1938 by Curzio Malaparte, the Italian novelist, intellectual, activist, and dilettante. The house is purported to illustrate the characteristics of its flamboyant owner. Indeed, it seems to be so. With essays, photographs, letters, and other contributions from those who have been inspired by this eccentric house, including designer Karl Lagerfeld, actor Willem Dafoe, and architect Michael Graves, McDonough hopes that the house will finally earn the respect it deserves. The discussion of Malaparte lends itself to a deeper discussion (through the essays) of the life and times of its owner. The book itself is a stunning artistic presentation. A foreword by Tom Wolfe ensures that this is no haughty academic piece. A compelling evocation of the spirit a house can command. --Michael Spinella


Library Journal Review

The Bauhaus, under directors Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, existed in Germany for only 14 years, from 1919 until 1933. It did, however, help set the standards for postwar industrial design and the modern architecture that is so out of favor today. Written by the head of archives and collections at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, this minutely documented but not well-illustrated work relates the history of the American reception of Bauhaus in the 1920s and 1930s. Important for an understanding of the German American cultural history during this period, it will be a required addition to academic and specialized art, architecture, and design collections. Most other libraries could make do with Hans Wingler's seminal work on the subject, Bauhaus: Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, Chicago (1969) or Frank Whitford's lighter history in the "World of Art" series, Bauhaus (1984).ÄJay Schafer, Bay Path Coll. Lib., Longmeadow, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Kentgens-Craig (archivist, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation) focuses on the reception in the US of Bauhaus revolutionary concepts in art and architectural education during the 1930s. Even though most Americans' experience of the Bauhaus was only through magazines, books, or films, it had a strong appeal to those interested in modern architecture. The author identifies the year 1936, when architects like Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe began moving to the US, as the beginning of the school's most direct influence. However, she also discusses at length the way in which Bauhaus founder Gropius carried out extensive marketing efforts and cultivated his contacts in the US to pave the way for acceptance of Bauhaus despite its association with a country under a totalitarian regime. Though there have been many other books and articles published on the Bauhaus and its influence, this one is especially useful because through her archival research the author has identified exactly how its wide acceptance was accomplished. The reception of the Bauhaus in the US brought about change in this country's cultural conditions as reflected in the changing outlook in domestic and foreign politics and the need to develop new solutions for mass housing, educational reform, and integration of construction and design. General readers; undergraduates through professionals. J. W. Stamper; University of Notre Dame