Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design, Berlin
The Bauhaus Archive was founded in 1960 as a non-profit organisation and is dedicated to the history and the after-effects of the most significant art school of the 20th century. As both museum and research institute, its main tasks include the collection, presentation and research of the Bauhaus.
With the support of many people – especially the Bauhäusler themselves and their families – it has been possible in the past 50 years to bring together the world’s largest and richest collection related to the Bauhaus. It contains works from the areas of painting, sculpture, architecture, furniture, ceramics, metal, photography, stage and works from the preliminary course. The permanent exhibition of “The Bauhaus Collection – Originals of Classic Modernism” displays the entire artistic spectrum of the school, as well as the works of the famous masters. Among others, these included Walter Gropius, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Important work complexes of individual artists are a component of the collection as legacies, endowments or permanent loans: works by Georg Muche, the estate of Lothar Schreyer, the painting work of the Bauhaus student Hans Thiemann and the advertising art of Herbert Bayer. An additional highlight of the graphic collection is the only complete series with all of the graphic cycles and folder works created during the Weimar years. This is supplemented by the unique abundance of materials from the various areas of instruction at the Bauhaus.
Other collection areas are the precursors of the Bauhaus in the 19th century, related artistic works of the 1920s and successors of the Bauhaus such as the New Bauhaus in Chicago (starting in 1937) and the College for Design (HfG) in Ulm (1953-1968).
The Bauhaus Archive also collects all of the documents – such as letters, manuscripts and other written documents, as well as publications – that are based on the activities and the cultural ideas of the Bauhaus. Individual collections from more than 500 teachers and students of the Bauhaus, as well as from other people and institutions that are associated with the ideas and the history of the Bauhaus can currently be viewed.
The works of Lucia Moholy, László Moholy-Nagy and Walter Peterhans form the centre of the collection with their artistic photography of the Bauhäusler. The collection includes a total of about 6,000 original prints (vintage prints) by more than 100 photo artists from the Bauhaus, as well as from their circles. The Bauhaus Archive possesses a collection of about 500 photos on the New Bauhaus that is one of a kind in Europe. The unique picture archive on the history of the Bauhaus, its people, workshops and products has become an indispensible partner for both research and publishing companies throughout the world. It currently contains about 60,000 photos.
The library of the Bauhaus Archive – which contains about 32,000 publicly available volumes – offers literature on the Bauhaus and its surroundings, as well as the associated artists, architects and designers. In addition, the art, architecture, photography and design of the 20th century are extensively documented with an emphasis on the 1920s. This also includes a rich inventory of historic and current architecture and design magazines.
Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius designed a museum building of its own for the Bauhaus Archive. Opened in 1979 in Berlin, its distinct silhouette is now considered one of the landmarks of the capital city. This is where “The Bauhaus Collection – Originals of Classic Modernism” presents examples from all areas of work at the Bauhaus. At least four special exhibitions per year, as well as many lectures, podium discussions, workshops, readings and concerts – in which historic and current topics from architecture, art and design are presented – supplement the museum’s programme.