In this ‘world of art’ series from Thames and Hudson, Frank Whitford takes a look into the history of the Bauhaus. The book starts at the Bauhaus’ inception in 1919 and ends soon after the close of the Bauhaus in 1933.
This short book seems like the perfect introduction to the Bauhaus, and within the week in which it took me to read the entire book i learnt quite a lot about the context within which the Bauhaus was conceived and operated and about many of the Masters who taught within it’s walls. The book covers very well the various different ways in which the Bauhaus operated and explains in just the right amount of detail who was part of the revolution. The book depicts the idea and follows it through the original Weimar years through to the Dessau Bauhaus.
The source of the books content is excellent, and the illustrations and photographs total almost as many as the number of pages. The quotes within the book make some of the content special and the examples are well explained with the use of real quotes by people who were there at the time. Students and professors alike both contribute well to the sources. These quotes are especially used at important change points within the era and the direct feelings of the students and staff members do well to explain very clearly what the mood was like.
One of my favourite quotes from the book is:
“To build means to shape the ativities of life. The organism of a house derives from the course of the activities which take place within it… The shape of a building is not their for it’s own sake…” – Walter Gropius
The book is a short and sweet guide to the Bauhaus with plenty of information within. If you want a deep account of everything that happened then this isn’t the book for you, and if you want to know the techniques used within the workshops then you might feel dissapointed. The book managed to piece together the timeline of the era and take a glimpse at everything along the line. The Bauhaus’ situation is put into context well and related to other things which were happing at the time during the period. The referral to other movements at the time and their involvement with and relationships to the members of staff are put across in an easily understandable way and with strong clarity.
I was impressed with the high quality of the images used, especially when depicting various members of staff and their work. Frank Whitford’s writing style is incredibly easy to read and the content within is just right for a guide to further study. This is the perfect primer to understanding more about the Bauhaus.