Lisbeth Oestreicher, Gertrude Preiswerk, Lena Bergner, Grete Reichardt, Anni Albers, Ljuba Monastirsky, Rosa Berger, Gunta Stolzl, Otti Berger, Kurt Wanke.

 

The wave of immigration from Europe in the first half of the twentieth century brought the conviction that craft could serve as a pathway to modernist innovation. European émigrés, particularly first generation Bauhaus trained, had an active role as facto leaders, promoting modern ideals and using craft as a

renewed way to approach textile design. The engagement of works by mentors, apprentices and peers underlines the relations that influenced and sustained these artists, designers and their work. The research addresses the ways in which the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop found a place in American textile practice, particularly through education; the Bauhaus use of craft as an innovative teaching technique for designers, and the particular way in which the weaving workshop embodied the marriage of craft and modernist design. Abroad, Anni Albers, Marli Ehram and Trude Guermonprez educated a new generation of weavers, who also became teachers, designers or both. Black Mountain College, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Pond Farm, Chicago, and Mills College in California, among others became outposts of the Bauhaus.[1] These weavers, artists and designers transformed craft categorizations to legitimate their practices.

Otti Berger in Dessau Workshop

Context

The Bauhaus –which has become the origin of the modern movement, seek to distance from the traditional and historicism forms. Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus proposed that:

“By elevating the level of the crafts to the status of the fine arts he envisioned the artist as ‘an exalted craftsman’ and called for the creation of ‘a new guild of craftsmen without the class distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craft man and artist.’ In outlining the principles of the Bauhaus he declared that art is created independently of specific methods and, in contrast to a craft, cannot be taught. Therefore, the workshops would be central to the new school, indeed ‘The school is the servant of the workshop and will one day be absorbed by it.‘”[2]

The admission policy of the Bauhaus stated that any person of good repute, without regard to age or sex will be admitted, a far as space permits.[3] But Gropius underestimated the desire of women to study at the Bauhaus. As a response, the Council of Masters decided that women should be directed into the Weaving, Bookbinding and Pottery Workshops after the preliminary course or Vorkus. By 1922 the Pottery workshop wasn’t keen to accepted female students and the Bookbinding Workshop had been dissolved, leaving only the Weaving Workshop open to women– but with very seldom exceptions, as the case of Marianne Brand in the Metal Workshop.[4]

Moreover, the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop was inscribed within a fertile gender context: female students, who were within the context of the first wave of feminism in Germany after World War I, aspired to be part of the professional design community convinced that this avant-garde institution would accept them as equals.[5] Here lies the first revolutionary dimension of the weaving workshop, as it proposes a new approach to women in professional work force.

It is important to remember that at the time and with the rise of capitalism, the social situation in terms of labor because of the war, and the introduction of power loom in the nineteenth century, women joined the labor force in unprecedented numbers, replacing skilled male weavers, not as professionals but as workers. Hierarchy of art and design, textiles and women share equally low positions. Textiles have been invariably employed to evoke home; embroidery or woven textiles were not seen as art, but as an expression of femininity, and categorized as craft. In this regard, craft functioned as a strategy in the creation of functional objects that enables women as owners of a subtle conciliating skill as facilitators of commune and comfort. [6] Also, textiles were the driving force of the industrial revolution. The following pages attempt to show how these artists and designers had transformed these categorizations to legitimate their professional practice.

 

The Early Weaving Workshop (in Weimar) and the influence of Abstract Art.

The Bauhaus interest in abstraction, is characterized by the elemental, irreducible, essential, foundational and originary. In this return to the origin, it has the hope to discover the lost of unity in arts; it points to the total (and integral) work of art, which for Gropius, was recovered through the vorkus.[7] The introductory course or vorkus was a general introduction to composition, color, mediums, and tridimentional forms. Here, the students were familiarized with the techniques, concepts and formal relations considered fundamental for all visual expressions. The vorkus are one of the main Bauhaus’ legacies, but it has it precedent in the educational progressive reforms of the 19th century, especially in the kindergarten of Friederich Froeble.

The integration of the kindergarten in the Bauhaus basic course was mainly reflect in the theory of un-learn and abstract, in the improvement of inner skills through elemental terms; elemental geometry, primary colors and fundamental materials (the yellow triangle, the red square, and the blue circle). The visual form was considered a universal and pan-historic writing that communicate directly to the eye and the brain. The legacy of this method is the aims of identify a visual language, a code of abstract forms, which has an immediate and biologic perception, before it is decode by the cultural and conditioned intellect. However, after the vorkus, the students were transfer to the material oriented workshops.

The Weaving Workshop was the longest standing of all Bauhaus workshops, extended from its foundation in 1919 to its closure in 1933. In the Weimar period, “far from being failed industrial specimens, were the first to reject traditional tapestry-weaving in favor of a whole new design vocabulary. They were pioneering works in their own right and must be viewed as logical translations of the art education received by the students.”[8] During the early years, the Weaving Workshop lacked any solid professional underpinning; weavers were almost replicating their masters’ painters instead of having their own language.

The early generation of Bauhaus weavers learned directly from Johannes Itten, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Lászlo Moholy-Nagy and Joseph Albers. Then, the emphasis was on the artistic expression, on individual pieces, reflecting the instruction and the design philosophies of the painters.[9] Kandinsky and Itten embraced the artist’s ‘inner self’. Kandinsky states that ‘the more abstract is the form, the more clear and direct is the appeal.’[10] Itten revealed a new width of emotional and intellectual perceptions on the path to free explorations and symbolism in textiles. Paul Klee’s visual thinking shape their aesthetics. Although, the philosophies of the painters were not always easily tied with the weaving practice.

According to Sigrid Weltge-Wortmann, for women weavers who were trying to become integrated as professionals into the art world, ambiguities about abstract art and decorative arts were profoundly troubling.[11] The Bauhaus engaged them because of its equality principle in the choice of a profession. “Once again the boundaries had to be redrawn, especially with regard to abstract art, which the general public linked to the two words artists most feared: ornament and decoration […] Basically, the fine arts denied the decorative arts any ability to communicate ideas or emotion.”[12] Then, a contradiction emerged in regards to their professional validation; on the one hand, there was divergent frustration over the lack of sophisticated education; on the other, students had freedom to explore the properties of different materials, a distinctive deviation from the preponderant manners in education at that time.[13]

Anni Albers recalled those early days: “There was no real teacher in textiles. We had no formal classes. Now people say to me: ’you learned it all at the Bauhaus’! We did not learn a thing in the beginning. I learned from Gunta, who was a great teacher. We sat down and tried to do it. Sometimes we sat together and tried to solve problems of construction.”[14] In 1927, Gunta Stolzl became the former Weaving Master (and only female Bauhaus Master) and she took an unequivocal stand. She believed that the exploration for form, the relationship of shapes, lines and colors were purely enriched by structure and texture, the hallmarks of her craft. Gunta proposed “weaving is an aesthetic whole, a unity of composition, form, color and substance.” [15] In the early Weimar years, Stolzl did not foresee industrial fabrics, but she had begun to realized that it was impossible to developed professionally without proper technical education.

A weaver engaged in a carpet knotting on an upright loom in Dessau Workshop.

 

Bauhaus Exhibition of 1923: ‘Art and Technology – A New Unity’

In 1923, the Bauhaus Exhibition crystalized the change of direction of the school: ‘Art and Technology – A New Unity’. The exhibition was a success: “The same critics who expressed bewilderment that the house was designed by a painter and not by an architect were quick to notice the absence of paintings on its bare walls. This might explain why the textiles, which softened the severity and angularity of the rooms and its furniture, were for the most part favorably received.”[16] Beyond the success of the exhibition, weavers as painters were reluctant to leave art perspective behind. But they did, and they used their craft to moved into the front of the development of prototypes for industry.[17] This change of direction also discloses art translation into craft mediums and how they later moved to architecture and industry. Is important to note that the mechanical weaving improvements in 1926 were not sophisticated enough to contain all the weavers’ intellectual ambitions.[18] Despite the industrial involvement, the weavers kept an intimate relation to craft and the hand-loom; it was a tool for industry, a tool to educate young people through the discipline of handwork, and a tool for the development of a flexible artistic and technical expression.

Economical Independence: the years in Dessau

After they moved to Dessau, the Weaving Workshop asked their own recognition. “In 1924 [Gropius] had noted with satisfaction that companies already had an active interest in the products of the Weaving Workshop.”[19] In Dessau the emphasis was on advanced learning of geometry, weaving technology, analysis, dyeing techniques, use of mechanical processes, as well as on design experimentation for interior fabrics and industrial production. Students also shared administrative tasks, such as book-keeping and calculation of wages. Field trips to spinning mills, dye workshops and wool, silk and cotton factories adapted them with the real requirements of industry. Georg Muche, form master of the workshop at the time, recommended payment for individual weaving methods, deductions for technical and formal mistakes and income derived from prototypes and licensing agreements. [20] Sometimes, other aspects of economical independence were discontent among the weavers, like the flaring polarization between industry and craft that had replaced the earlier conflict between art and craft.

Bauhaus Weavings 1929 – 1933

 

Close of the Bauhaus

Even before the war started, Bauhaus’s liberal attitudes were interpreted as being too left wing. 1932 was a year of uncertainty and transition, of hope and despair for the Weaving Workshop.

“In a last burst of optimism the Weaving Workshop introduced a revised curriculum, continued negotiations with textile companies and enjoyed representation on the van Delden stand at the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1933. But in April the police closed and sealed the building, and three months later, on 20 July 1933, the staff united behind Mies van der Rohe’ s decision to dissolve the Bauhaus for good. It was not enough for its enemies. With very few exceptions, anyone, whether artist, designer, educator or student, who had ever been associated with the institution in Weimar, Dessau or Berlin became the target of an unprecedented campaign of attacks.”[21]

 

Emigration to the US: Anni Albers, Marli Ehram and Trude Guermonprez

Many of the Bauhaus’ weavers who developed into pioneers at home, would become pioneers abroad, specifically at the United States. It was as teachers that these Bauhaus women were most visible and influential.[22] Émigré designers from Europe, particularly from Germany and Scandinavia, had a profound influence on design education and practice in the United States, not only by raising Modernism, but also by helping shape some of the most influential design institutions in America.[23] As in Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, New York, Black Mountain, Chicago, and Pond Farm, weavers lead design departments that explored techniques, art and technology, but also ideas that encouraged the principle of learning and teaching through a modernist scope.

Is important to note that in the decades before the women’s movement got under way in the 1960s in the United States, issues of self-definition were a continual struggle for women. In 1936 the Museum of Modern Art published Pioneers of the Modern Movement: From William Morris to Walter Gropius by Nikolaus Pevsner; this text played a key role in propagating a male-dominant canon of modernism. Many of the competitions that they sponsored at the time –like Low-Cost Furniture Designs of 1949 just to give an example– celebrated standardization and reproducibility.[24] In this regard, MoMA was THE tastemaker institution that promoted almost in a moralizing rhetoric tectonic values of form and structure and mechanized production. I suggest that the hierarchy of arts is not only based on gender but also in mechanization over handmade. If it is, what is the principle for high end products that are usually produced by hand?

However, from 1946 to 1956 more work of women designers was exhibited and acquired at the Museum of Modern Art that at any other time; “Kauffman blurred Johnson’s clear-cut demarcation between industrial design and craft, bringing many female practitioners on board in the process.”[25] The intense relation between The Museum of Modern Art and the Bauhaus is fortunate best exposed through the ouvre of Anni Albers.

 

Anni Albers

In June of 1933 Anni had invited Philip Johnson for tea at her and Josef’s new flat in Charlottenburg, Berlin. Earlier the same summer, Eddie Warbug had walked to Johnson at MoMA and mused about who had the necessary charisma and wisdom to teach at Black Mountain. Amazed by Albers’ interior and with that in mind, Philip Johnson invited Josef and Anni to the United States. The Nazi’s disdain for Modernism and Anni’s Jewish background suggested problems for them in Germany. Less than a month after the Bauhaus closed, Anni and Josef Albers were the first Bauhausler to come to America. Donations from Museum of Modern Art trustees covered the Alberses’ travel expenses and their salary for the first year.[26]

Black Mountain College was founded in 1933. Like the Bauhaus it was a progressive school, founded around social and pedagogic ideals with a strong emphasis in community and it provided an alternative to embedded academia through self-directed studies.

“Unlike the Bauhaus, whose mission it had been to better society through the integration of art and design, Black Mountain College had no defined role for the artist. As a liberal arts college, it recognized the arts as central to the individual, enhancing all experiences. For M.C. Richards, there was ‘a co-presence as it were, the availability of the arts, the participation in the act of making, the inter-relationship of the arts’ as well as ‘a three-fold approach lo life and learning: the studio arts, the intellectual discipline and community work, which not only changed my life but began to form the foundation toward a philosophy of wholeness.’”[27]

 

Anni Albers taught and became the head of the Weaving Workshop at Black Mountain College. In Germany, after her graduation from the Bauhaus she had continued to weave at home but, unlike Otti Berger, Margaret Leischner, Benita Otte who were firmly established in jobs in industry or teaching, Anni was not involved in either.[28] This opportunity launched her career.

In the beginning the workshop has a considerable lack of facilities, so Albers began her teaching at Black Mountain by assigning preliminary weaving studies in the same manner of the Bauhaus Vorkus. These exercises triggered students’ awareness to the material and the inherent potentials in the structure of woven surfaces through playful exploration. She introduced the use of the Peruvian simple backstrap loom, to emphasized weave construction, fiber identification, rough fibers, natural dyes, incorporation (not superimposition) of plastics, metals and other materials and finishes, and familiarity with the latest research in textiles. Then, she embraced the improvement of technical skills. “Albers thus encapsulate the dichotomy that characterizes much modern craft, between progressive theorization and an attraction to long-established authenticity.”[29]Anni Albers also gathered and invited people to her house, embracing discussions and bringing awareness that Black Mountain was a key point of intersection in between European and American avant garde.

As in the Bauhaus of Dessau, the Weaving Workshop at Black Mountain became self-supporting. Using the hand-loom as their design tool, “students wove and sold functional items, such as apparel fabric, table-cloths, place-mats and curtains formal projects involved textiles for aeroplanes, public halls, dormitories and stage.” [30] Anni Albers influenced weaving in the US beyond Black Mountain; in 1937 she showed her work in Chicago, lectured to women’s groups and assisted in assembling material –including her own– for the 1938 Bauhaus Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1944 she directed a seminar on textile design and in 1949 the Museum of Modern Art, through Philip Johnson, gave her solo show. 
Of Bauhaus woman or woman related to the school who emigrated to the United States, it was Anni Albers who most essentially linked the importance of Bauhaus to MoMA. Anni Albers’s writings on textiles and architecture coincided with the expansion of Modernism in America, from the thirties to the sixties. As she states ‘textiles for interior use can be regarded as architectural elements’, even she recognizes that ‘when the work is made with threads, it’s considered craft; when it’s on paper, it’s considered art.’[31]

In 1947, Anni Albers took a sabbatical leave, and she asked Trude Guermonprez to stay. Trained at Burg Giebichenstein in Halle under Bauhausler Benita Otte, Guermonprez embodied Bauhaus ideals. She received two grands, before and after the war, to studied indigenous weaving techniques in Scandinavia. During her career she taught, published, lectured and brought textile traditions of other cultures, especially those of Japan, to the attention of wide audiences in the US. In 1949, she left Black Mountain and moved to Pond Farm near Guerneville, California, because of an invitation from Marguerite Wildenhain. Curiously, the rural communities of Black Mountain and Pond Farm, become gathering places for exiled Bauhausler.

“The teaching methodology at Pond Farm was consciously modeled on Bauhaus precepts, since Wildenhain shared Gropius’s belief that art cannot be taught except by total immersion. Not surprisingly, the school also adopted another Bauhaus tenet, the close relationship between craft, design and architecture […] For Guermonprez, the years at Pond Farm were rewarding. She firmly established her professional reputation as an outstanding teacher and innovative weaver. Her personal life was enriched by John Elsesser, an architect-builder, whom she married in 1951.”[32]

 

Weavers trained in the Bauhaus approach gave to their students not only technical grounding but also the courage to experiment. This emboldened first generation was stimulated to find and pursue their own artistic expressions; “the disdain for any form of copying, a veritable credo at the original Bauhaus, remained inviolate.”[33]

In 1937 in Chicago, the Association of Arts and Industries established a New Bauhaus and appointed Laszlo Moholy-Nagy as director and Walter Gropius as consultant. “Moholy-Nagy had intended to appoint Otti Berger as head of the Weaving Workshop. Her forced detention in Yugoslavia and inability to get a visa ended her prospects for emigration. Instead, it was her friend Marli Ehrman who assumed the position. Like Berger, Ehrman, who was Marie Helene Heimann as a student, had taken the Vorkurs under Moholy-Nagy.”[34] In Chicago, the Weaving Workshop held the same philosophies as had been practiced in Dessau: experimentation and exploration of the material from its basis, discarding all preconceive ideas, focusing on mass production and design for industry. Like in Weimar, students were encouraged to sample the ware of other workshops; but unlike in Germany, fashion and print design were incorporated.

Ehrman was both an outstanding weaver-designer and a gifted teacher. She was not only teaching for professionals, also “she was equally committed to teaching children and adults at Hull House, a settlement school founded in 1889 by Jane Addams in a neighborhood of Mexican, Italian and Greek immigrants.”[35] In 1941 the Museum of Modern Art sponsored ‘Organic Design’ competition, in which Marli Ehrman won first prize, one of many awards she received during her distinguished career; “but as with so many upholstery fabrics, the role of her textile in the winning chair designed by Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames is often unseen.

Else Regensteiner left Germany to Chicago in 1936 and soon became friends with Marli Ehrman. Marli invited Else to become her assistant at the Institute of Design, although Regensteiner’ s degree from the Frauenschule in Munich was in teaching and not in weaving. Ehrman encouraged Regensteiner to take courses with Anni and Josef Albers at Black Mountain College. Regensteiner explains that it became a lasting experience and creative influence in her development as a weaver and textile designer. [36] In 1942 Else Regensteiner joined Marli Ehrman as an instructor at the Institute of Design and in 1945 she joined the staff of the Art Department at the school of the Chicago Art Institute. In 1957 and carrying Moholy’s ideal of instruction, she established and directed the Weaving Department in the same university until her retirement in 1971. There, she trained young weavers to become professionals, but she also reached a broad number of avocational weavers by conducting workshops across all the country. “She waged a tireless campaign in favor of inventiveness and exploration as opposed to weaving from recipes. As a director of the Handweavers Guild of America she fostered the concept of quality even for amateurs and established the ‘Certificate of Excellence’, which has to be earned and which attests to a weaver’s technical competence.”[37] The Bauhaus conception resided with her and carried over her approach to weaving and teaching. She also initiated a group called the Midwest Designer-Craftsmen, to foster standards and guidelines for craftspeople, arrange exhibitions, workshops, symposia, gallery, outlets, etc. Else Regensteirn embodied the statement that weaving became relevant in education over her own artistic practice.

Dorothy Liebes and weavers, 196-? / unidentified photographer. Dorothy Liebes papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

In 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, in San Francisco exposed the strength of craft-scale textile production, and women’s role in it from the late 1930s to the 1960s. Dorothy Liebes, as director of the decorative arts division, was also the curator of modern textiles representing mainly the United States, France, England, and Scandinavia through the selection of 150 designers. [38] The weavers working in the United States included Anni Albers, Ruth Reeves, Loja Saarinen and Mariane Strengell, among others. 

Marianne Strengell arrived in 1936 from Finland sponsored by Eliel and Loja Saarinen, both also Finnish, established in Cranbrook Academy of Art since 1925. It is important to mention that Loja Saarinen established a textile studio that was an important source of modernist rugs and wall hangings in the beginning of the 1920s and continuing through the 1930s. She wanted to provide quality fabrics for the interiors that Eliel designed. But she did not weave any of the textiles; instead she kept a small handloom in her home for preparing samples and then she supervised the execution by others. “Although it has been asserted that Loja began Cranbrook’s important history in weaving, she did not teach […] she continued to be “in charge” until she retired in 1942.”[39] In a similar climate as Black Mountain, Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, approach to design and design teaching in an intense exploration around a human and broad-based Scandinavian perspective where craft was the tool to shape ideas.

 

Continuing with Marianne Strengell, she was brought to teach hand weaving at Cranbrook Academy of Art as a model for industrial production. She was playful mixing organic and human-made fibers. For her, “textiles contributed to the experience, understanding and pleasure in architecture, clarifying relationships between parts, manipulating the depth and opacity of spaces, or demarcating function.”[40] Her work relied on subtleties of color and fiber combinations; it was meant to serve the architectural setting not to call attention to itself, at the same time it retained a sensitive quality of hand.[41]

Interaction was common among schools with Bauhaus connections. In 1949, Claire Falkenstein, faculty member at Mills College, participated in a summer session at Pond Farm. During the fifties Trude Guermonprez returned to Black Mountain College for a seminar, and Marli Ehrman taught two summer sessions there and also served as Black Mountain’s outside examiner.[42]

Woman émigrés bridged her artisanal craft training and the further development of her prototyping skills with the subsequence implications with industrial design and architecture.[43] In this regard craft was an aesthetic and intellectual stimulus to production. They brought with them a concept embedded in the design training through the use of craft as means of designing for industrial production, particularly in woven textiles along with ceramics.

 

 

* * *

The Bauhaus successfully married traditional crafts with modernist design through its curriculum, initially through the vorkus, and then with the workshops explorations, deeply embodied in the Weaving Workshop. Weavers who studied at the Weaving Workshop went on to have significant impact as teachers of modernist design in the United States.

Weaving and teaching were both occupations that were open to women in ways that architecture and industrial design were not. In midcentury American context women were not largely welcome in architecture and industrial design as practitioners. In a different sense, design was a site of gendered work and textiles found a fertile ground. When women worked as designers, they did so largely in occupations associated with the ‘feminine’; they would brought texture, color and nature to their hard-edged modernist spaces; their role was to humanize and naturalize these inhabitable spaces, and her tool for design was craft.

The records of the Museum of Modern Art sponsored and revealed women’s role as advocates of contextual, social, and craft-based design, which enriches the masculine and technologically driven modernism that predominates the institution: “Women represented in the MoMA’s collection sheds light on the complex dialectic among vernacular traditions, craft, and industry that characterized midcentury modern design […] is possible to validate the personal and handmade at the same time as the uniform and mass-produced, and to fuse them all in ways that are innovative, modern and still relevant.”[44]

The textile work of different women served to re-signify postwar associations with materials. At this time, many companies were looking for new uses for their production, as aluminum and plywood, which had an extensive military use during World War II. Nonetheless, collaborations with industry were considered heights of American artistic achievement. The real gain was a rebirth of hand weaving in the United States. Textiles were the battleground for the idea that the craftsman was a skilled designer and prototype maker for industry.[45]The liaison of handicraft to mass production was an essential social questions as weavers adopted innovative synthetics, especially those innovated by DuPont. Mixing synthetic materials, some weavers or/and designers constructed their persona in the umbrella of hand weaving.

Lenore Tawney at work on a tapestry, 1966 _ photo Nina Leen

 

Is important to mention that first generation of weavers took an artistic approach to textiles. Ruth Asawa, Angelo Testa, Lenore Tawney and Claire Zeisler, among others, juxtaposed the gendered nature of materials in contrast to technique, destabilizing the boundaries between art and craft and hierarchy of value and skill based on sex. As a last conclusion, the research suggests that the hierarchy of arts is not only based on gender but in mechanized production over handmade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Weltge-Wortmann, Sigrid. Bauhaus Textiles: Women Artists and the Weaving Workshop(London: Thames and Hudson, 1993Final del formulario), 10.

[2] Weltge-Wortmann,16.

[3] Wingler, Hans Maria, The Bauhaus: Weimar Dessau Berlin Chicago (The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1969), 33.

[4] Weltge-Wortmann, Sigrid. Women’s Work: Textile Art from the Bauhaus (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1993), 43.

[5] Weltge-Wortmann, Sigrid. Bauhaus Textiles: Women Artists and the Weaving Workshop(London: Thames and Hudson, 1993Final del formulario), 9.

[6] Auther, Elissa. String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 100.

[7] Lupton, Ellen, and J. Abbott Miller. [The ABCs of Triangle, Square and Circle]: The Bauhaus and Design Theory. Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 1993.

[8] Weltge-Wortmann, 49.

[9] Ibid,10.

[10] Kandinsky, Wessily, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Dover Publications (New York, 1977. Originally published as Uber das geistige in der Kunst, R. Piper, Munich, 1912), 32.

[11] Weltge-Wortmann, 44.

[12] The author explains that yet abstract art, as has been readily conceded, was indebted to a whole range of sources, from mechanization to French symbolism, non-European art, and finally also to the decorative arts. Prominent and eloquent leaders of the English Arts and Crafts Movement, the Vienna Secession, Art Nouveau and Jugendstil advocated not only a total environment (the all-inclusive concept of a building and its contents), in other words a Gesamtkunstwerk, but also led the way toward abstraction. Weltge-Wortmann, 44,51.

[13] Weltge-Wortmann, 44.

[14] Anni Albers in conversation with the author, 21 February 1987. Weltge-Wortmann, 46.

[15] The Bauhaus must have come to the same conclusion for despite its desperate financial situation, it sent both Stolzl and Benita Otte to Krefeld, once in 1921, to take a month-long course in dyeing, and the following year to study weaving and fiber technology. While it has been argued that the style of Bauhaus textiles altered due to increased standardization, the real change occurred because of newly acquired technical abilities. Even the freedom to experiment has its limits. True liberation from restraints relies on professional expertise. Weltge-Wortmann, 58.

[16] It is interesting that Anni Albers and Gunta Stolzl –the only female Bauhaus master–, returned to art weaving late in their lives, after a prolific carrier both as designers for industry. Weltge-Wortmann, 62.

[17] Weltge-Wortmann, 10.

[18] Gunta Stolzl wrote the same year, “today the mechanical weaving process is not yet far enough developed to provide the possibilities existing in handweaving, and, since these are essential for the growing creativity of a person, we deal mainly with handweaving; for only the work on the hand loom provides enough latitude to develop an idea from one experiment to another.” Weltge-Wortmann, 97.

[19]Quoted in Gunta Stolzl: Weberai am Bauhaus und aus eigener Werkstatt, (Berlin: Kupfergraben, 1987) in Weltge-Wortmann, 89.

[20] Weltge-Wortmann, 92.

[21] The instigator for this was Paul Schultze-Naumburg, director of the Weimar school since 1930, and member of the inspection team that had doomed the Bauhaus in Dessau. The author of Art and Race, Schultze-Naumburg distinguished himself as among the most active of the early hate-mongers. The Bauhaus was no stranger to animosity, but with Hitler’s rise to power, ten-or and intimidation became all-pervasive. Weltge-Wortmann, 120.

[22] Juliet Kinchin, “Women, MoMA, and Midcentury Design,” in Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art, eds. Cornelia Butler and Alexandra Schwartz (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2010), 291.

[23] Kirkham, Pat. Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference: Jacqueline M. Atkins [and Others] (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 57.

[24] Kinchin, 282.

[25] Kinchin, 288.

[26] Weber, Nicholas Fox, and Martin Filler. Josef and Anni Albers: Designs for Living (London: Merrell, 2004), 13.

[27] Weltge-Wortmann, 163.

[28] Weltge-Wortmann, 164.

[29] Adamson, Glenn. The Craft Reader (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2010), 45.

[30] Weltge-Wortmann, 164.

[31] Albers, Anni, and Brenda Danilowitz. Art and Architecture in Anni Albers: Selected Writings on Design (Hanover: University Press of New England, 2000).

[32] Weltge-Wortmann, 172.

[33] Weltge-Wortmann, 176

[34] Weltge-Wortmann, 176.

[35] Weltge-Wortmann, 179.

[36] Weltge-Wortmann, 179.

[37] Regensteiner, Else. The Art of Weaving (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co, 1970).

[38] Kirkham, 153.

[39] Koplos, Janet, and Bruce Metcalf. Makers A History of American Studio Craft (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 128.

[40] Kinchin, 295.

[41] Koplos, 165.

[42] Weltge-Wortmann, 175.

[43] Kinchin, 292.

[44] Kinchin, 298.

[45] Koplos, 211.

Marzo 7, 2016

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