Modernist Jewish Design: The Bauhaus at 100; exhibition at the Bowes Library

April 8, 2019
D. Vanessa Kam
Modernist Jewish Design: The Bauhaus at 100 poster

Modernist Jewish Design: The Bauhaus at 100

Bowes Art & Architecture Library
Stanford University

April 8 through May 31, 2019

Curated by Eitan Kensky, Reinhard Family Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections and D. Vanessa Kam, Head Librarian, Ute & Bill Bowes Art & Architecture Library

The Bauhaus School of Design was founded in Weimar, Germany in April, 1919. It moved to Dessau, Germany from 1925 to 1932, and to Berlin from 1932 until 1933 when it was closed by Nazis.  Founded by architect and industrial designer Walter Gropius, with a faculty that included László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee, and Marcel Breuer, the school’s ethos resulted in a blending of workshop training in fine art, arts and crafts, and architecture for a closer interplay between fine and applied arts.  It also attempted to re-establish links between notions of creativity and manufacturing that had been broken during the Industrial Revolution.  The Bauhaus’s distinctive approach to materials, process, and aesthetics continue to inspire artists, designers, and architects and to shape our ideas of style.

Jewish modernism in arts and letters and modernist Jewish design exploded after World War I. Eastern European Jews like Moï Ver and Aryeh Sharon came West to the Bauhaus. Yet it was only one of a number of modernist approaches to art and architecture that developed in the period that Jews took with them as they migrated from place-to-place during the twentieth century.

This exhibition marks the occasion of the Bauhaus’s centennial by celebrating a century of modernist Jewish design, the movements that sparked Jewish cultural creativity in Europe, Israel, and the US, and that shaped the fabric and furniture of post-World War II life.