Shortly before the start of the first Bauhaus exhibition in Weimar, Ise Gropius arrived in Weimar and ‘… disappeared for everyone who had ever known [her] beforehand, behind this door into a new world, the like of which had never been seen before, but which gave [her] the opportunity to develop [her] own personality within its framework’. Ise and Walter Gropius were married in Weimar on October 16th the same year; Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee acted as witnesses at the wedding ceremony.
Walter Gropius was soon lovingly calling his wife ‘Mrs. Bauhaus’. Ise Gropius gave up thoughts of an independent career and entered the service of the Bauhaus – as a secretary, editor, organizer and ‘equal partner’ for Gropius. In an interview in 1986, she said, ‘The Bauhaus idea became my second self. Once you were infected with it, it had effects on every aspect of your life.’
In addition to organizational tasks, Ise Gropius also sometimes contributed in design terms as well. For example, she designed the Masters’ House in Dessau, with architectural corrections from her husband, as well as objects for the kitchen, ‘since modern kitchens did not yet exist in Germany. There was almost nothing on the normal market capable of satisfying not only our modern technological requirements but also our aesthetic standards.’ It was only after the completion of the Dessau houses that Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky designed the revolutionary Frankfurt Kitchen in 1926.
Ise Gropius’s intently modern eye is also seen in photographs by her that have survived. Many of the photos can no longer be clearly attributed either to her or her husband, as they were taken on journeys they made together, without any note being made of which of them took each picture. Only the self-portraits are clearly by her. In 1926/27, she took a photograph of herself in the bathroom mirror of her Master’s House in Dessau appearing eight times from different angles. The young woman, with a distant gaze, is embracing the camera with her left arm, which is the only part of the real model visible to the viewer. It is only in the mirror images that the identity and position of the photographer are recognizable. The space around her is distorted almost beyond recognition by the mirror refractions.