When the Nazis took power in Germany in the ’30s of the last century, many of the Bauhaus artists fled Germany, and quite a few of them came to Cambridge, Massachusetts, establishing strong connections with the Harvard University. That is why, as The Art Newspaper reports, the University’s Busch-Reisinger Museum archive has 32,000 Bauhaus art objects.
The last time the University organized a Bauhaus exhibition was way back in 1971, so that is why the latest one, titled The Bauhaus and Harvard is a big deal. The exhibition, which is organized to mark the 100th anniversary of the movement will be open at the Harvard Art Museums until June 28, 2019.
As art critic Brian Allen notes, Bauhaus as an art movement is the “building school” that “demolished boundaries. Everything, in one way or another, from houses to pottery to carpeting, is built.” Most of the renowned Bauhaus artists worked by crossing artistic boundaries – Anni and Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and, Walter Gropius. The latter is one of the first of the Bauhaus artists to come to Harvard in 1937, where he taught architecture.
Of particular interest is the lesser known experiments by Bauhaus artists with photography like those by Werner Feist and Marianne Brandt. Overall, the exhibition presents 200 works by 74 artists mostly from the Busch-Reisinger Museum, which is the largest Bauhaus collection outside Germany. Since 2016 there’s been a comprehensive digital resource of the Harvard’s Bauhaus collection.