Why is Bauhaus called Bauhaus?
Jolanthe Kugler: The name Bauhaus is derived from the medieval "Bauhütte" or “Hütte” (hut), a nationwide organization that was responsible for the construction of sacred buildings. The hut was the place where art and craft merged, where apprentices grew into journeymen and then masters. And where the synthesis of craftsmanship gave rise to such monumental buildings as the Gothic cathedrals.
Is it possible to describe the Bauhaus in short?
Anne-Louise Sommer: It can be described as a multidisciplinary approach to design, derived from the wish to unite the disciplines of crafts, art and architecture and to create functional and beautiful objects for everyday use.
Jolanthe Kugler: That’s right. And it is not a concept of style, but an idea, a philosophy of life, a new way of thinking - or, as the architectural historian Jean-Louis Cohen said, an opinion towards society.
Did you come across surprising facts in your discussion of the Bauhaus?
Jolanthe Kugler: Although the Bauhaus seems to have been extensively researched, it is so complex and multi-layered that one repeatedly encounters surprises.
Anne-Louise Sommer: Indeed. I was a bit surprised of how many female students had to struggle to get recognition and even though the school formally accepted male and female students, women were often referred to the textile or pottery departments, even if they wished to work with metal.
Jolanthe Kugler: The women at the Bauhaus remained either in the background, at the side of their husbands, doing great things, like Ise Gropius, Walter's wife, who was affectionately called "Frau Bauhaus", who did all the correspondence, founded and maintained the circle of friends, travelled the country to promote the Bauhaus. Or, if unmarried, they were assigned to the weaving mill. Weaving was considered a women's matter. Only very few succeeded in completing their training in another workshop, like Marianne Brand in the metal workshop.
Myth or truth: Everything at the Bauhaus is always white.
Anne-Louise Sommer: Myth. There is so much color. You can see this in the buildings and in the works by Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Josef and Anni Albers and many others.