From Bauhaus to Palestine

From Bauhaus to Palestine
Chanan Frenkel – Ricarda and Heinz Schwerin

poster accompanying the exhibition "From Bauhaus to Palestine: Chanan Frenkel – Ricarda and Heinz Schwerin"

poster accompanying the exhibition "From Bauhaus to Palestine: Chanan Frenkel – Ricarda and Heinz Schwerin"

Chanan Frenkel building a model for the world exhibition in New York, 1939
Chanan Frenkel, winning competition design for a market hall and a bus station for Netanyah, 1947/48
Ricarda Schwerin in her workshop "Schwerin Wooden Toys" in Jersulasem, ca. 1937
Heinz Schwerin in his workshop "Schwerin Wooden Toys" in Jersulasem, ca. 1937
shop window of the workshop "Schwerin Wooden Toys" in Jerusalem, 1942/43
Ricarda Schwerin in the Studio Bernheim-Schwerin in Jerusalem, 1960s
Photography taken on a journey to Greece with Hannah Arendt, Heinrich Blücher and Charlotte Beradt, 1963

In the Thirties, around 25 former Bauhaus students and graduates emigrate to Palestine. The majority of them arrives in the British Mandate of Palestine as immigrants; others have already lived here as Zionist pioneers prior to their studies at the Bauhaus. One of these is Halle-born Chanan Frenkel, who returns in 1933 with a Bauhaus Diploma in his pocket. Two years later, Heinz Schwerin and Ricarda Meltzer also emigrate there.

Once, they had come to the Bauhaus in Dessau because it had made a name for itself worldwide as an outstanding school of modern design. But after the politically motivated dismissal of Hannes Meyer as the second Bauhaus director, the school is consumed by an existential crisis that also has an effect on the everyday lives of the students. In Palestine they attempt, under trying circumstances, to build up a new life and work environment.

The exhibition in Dessau traces thematic and biographical aspects of the lives lived between Germany and Palestine/Israel by the three Bauhaus people Chanan Frenkel and Ricarda and Heinz Schwerin. They typify the individual careers of Jewish and non-Jewish Bauhaus students, caught between Zionist fervor and enforced exile. It investigates their experiences and personal networks at the Bauhaus, their diverse migration paths between utopia and loss, and their opportunities for artistic and professional development. 

From 26 June until 13 October, 2013 in the Masters' House Muche/Schlemmer in Dessau-Roßlau.

accompanying programme:

Readings and guided tours of the exhibition

  • Thursday 12.9.2013, 6 pm to 8 pm
  • Sunday 13.10.2013, 11 am to 1 pm

Jutta Schwerin reads on the terrace of the Muche/Schlemmer masters’ house (in poor weather in the Kandinsky/Klee masters’ house) from her book Ricardas Tochter. Leben zwischen Deutschland und Israel, published 2012 by Spector Books, Leipzig. Followed by a curator-led guided tour of the exhibition.


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