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The Bauhaus’s Untold Impact on Everyday Design in America | Architectural Digest

At Harvard, a distinctive, lesser-known perspective on the style’s centennial

Lucia Moholy, Bauhaus Masters Housing, Dessau,1925–26: Lucia Moholy and László Moholy-Nagy's Living Room, c. 1925. Gelatin silver print with gouache retouchings. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Ise Gropius. Photo: © Lucia Moholy Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photo: Harvard Art Museums; © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Lucia Moholy, Bauhaus Masters Housing, Dessau,1925–26: Lucia Moholy and László Moholy-Nagy’s Living Room, c. 1925. Gelatin silver print with gouache retouchings. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Ise Gropius.
Photo: © Lucia Moholy Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photo: Harvard Art Museums; © President and Fellows of Harvard College

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus design school in Weimar, Germany, and tributes are being held globally. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Harvard Art Museums will display nearly 200 works by 74 artists in a new exhibit, “The Bauhaus and Harvard.” Almost all come from Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum, which houses the largest collection of Bauhaus artifacts outside of Germany.

Herbert Bayer, Verdure, 1950. Oil on canvas. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Commissioned by Harvard Corporation, 1950.169. © Artists Rights Society (ARS),New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photo: Harvard Art Museums; © President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Herbert Bayer, Verdure, 1950. Oil on canvas. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Commissioned by Harvard Corporation, 1950.169.
© Artists Rights Society (ARS),New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photo: Harvard Art Museums; © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Founded by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus was hugely influential on art and design in the 20th century, and remains so today. The school’s pioneering approach to teaching combined instruction in crafts and the fine arts—a radical notion at the time. Alongside the dawning of a new industrial age, the Bauhaus focused on the intersection of craftsmanship and mass production and art and technology in fields as diverse as weaving, metalworking, furniture design, and architecture. The result revolutionized how ordinary people experienced everyday life through the objects they touched, used, and relied on. If you’ve ever admired a teapot from Target or appreciated the elegance of an iPhone, you already inherently understand the Bauhaus’s impact.

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