Bauhaus: The Face of the 20th Century



Founded in 1919 in the Eastern German city of Weimar, the Bauhaus was the first art school after World War I to put new ideas and controversial thoughts into practice. Called the ‘greatest design institution of the 20th century’, it has been a major influence on the aesthetics of architecture, painting and other fields of the arts. The utopian aspirations of the disenchanted soldier Walter Gropius eventually attracted students from all over Germany to learn with skilled teachers such as Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky, Oskar Schlemmer and Joseph Albers. Gropius believed that all arts are one and, in order to become an artist, man has to fully understand the tools he is working with. He aimed to produce objects that equally connected functionality and aesthetics. Students who began with workshops in colour and geometry eventually took up politics, experimented in theatre and music and formed a strong community. Threatened by the National Socialist (Nazi) Party, the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in 1925 and continued its work there. In the early thirties, as the Nazi terror increased, a new home was found in Berlin but was closed down in 1933.

With the help of interviews and documentary material, the film examines the relevance of the Bauhaus for the industrialised world of today and shows how the spirit of the artist as engineer eventually found its deepest roots in the United States, particularly Chicago.