What Was Bauhaus Style

Bauhaus: A Brief Overview

Primary colors, thick straight lines, lots of white space, a circle, a triangle, and a square – what do these things have in common? They are all elements of Bauhaus design.

Bauhaus Building

Bauhaus was a fine arts and design school founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius, a German architect. Located in Weimar, Germany, the core of the school’s teachings was the idea that all of the arts – architecture, design, crafts, and the fine arts – could be combined together to create a new form of art, “a total art,” in the physical world. This merging of art and design was a novel idea at the time.

The Bauhaus Signet

“Gropius explained this vision for a union of art and design in the Proclamation of the Bauhaus (1919), which described a utopian craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single creative expression.”Alexandra Griffith Winton, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The diagram below describes the program schematics and main principles of Bauhaus teaching:

  • The ultimate goal is the construction (la construction, der Bau)
  • It starts by a preliminary course (cours préliminaire, Vorlehre)
  • It is followed by a teaching in a workshop. The different workshops are symbolized by a material. See the legend below for translations.
Bauhaus Program Details Original 1922
Program schematics, established from W. Gropius original, 1922.

A quick translation for the above diagram:

Stein = Stone, Ton = Clay, Glas = Glass, Farbe = Color, Gewebe = Fabric, Metall = Metal, Holz = Wood

Bauhaus building architecture

Each Bauhaus workshop honed in on a specific craft and material type. The following examples are works from the Bauhaus workshops. Each piece was created in a workshop that was tailored to its specific material type. These highly-specialized workshops created a new environment where, for the first time in history, art and design emerged as one whole.

Walter Gropius, Herbert Bayer, Mies van der Rohe

Left: “Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar 1919-1923” Book, by Walter Gropius (German, Berlin 1883–1969 Boston, Massachusetts)

Right: “MR” Armchair, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (American (born Germany), Aachen 1886–1969 Chicago, Illinois)

Marianne Brandt and Herbert Bayer

Left: Small Harbor, Marseilles, by Herbert Bayer (American (born Austria), Haag 1900–1985 Montecito, California)

Right: Tea Infuser and Strainer, by Marianne Brandt (German, Chemnitz 1893–1984 Kirchberg)


Paul Klee and Marcel Breur


Left: Armchair, by Marcel Breuer (American (born Hungary) 1902–1981)

Right: Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door, by Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)


Fotogramm and Kubus Bauhaus Art


Left: Fotogramm, by László Moholy-Nagy (American (born Hungary), Borsod 1895–1946 Chicago, Illinois)

Right: “Kubus” Stacking Containers, designed by Wilhelm Wagenfeld (German, Bremen 1900–1990 Stuttgart), manufactured by Vereinigte Lausitzer Glaswerke


Wassily Chairs by Marcel Breuer

Wassily Chair, by Marcel Breuer (American (born Hungary) 1902–1981)

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