Recommended Reading and Syllabus
Bauhaus 1919-1933, Barry Bergdoll and Leak Dickerman, (The Museum of Modern Art, NYC, 2009).
Bauhaus Mädels: A Tribute to Pioneering Women Artists, Patrick Rössler, (Cologne: TASCHEN, 2019).
Readings referenced in the syllabus will be provided by your instructor.
Session 1: February 8, 2023:
Historical, social, and political climate of Germany post-World War I when the Bauhaus was founded.
Brief review of Bauhaus (for those who have not taken the course The History of Bauhaus), its founding, directors, philosophy, and structure. The prospectus for the new school emphasizing the equality of the sexes in gaining entrance to study there.
The role of women following World War I, after their entering the work-force during the war to fill jobs left vacant by the soldiers.
Reading: "Girls Want to Learn Something," from Bauhaus Mädels. A Tribute to Pioneering Women Artists by Patrick Rössler, (Cologne: TASCHEN, 2019), pp. 9-25.
Session 2: February 15, 2023:
Die Neue Frau (The New Woman): the changing role of the woman in the 1920s, Bubikopf (Bob Hairstyle), gender identification, Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia van Harden by Otto Dix, and the monocle, August Sander's photograph of Helene.
Discussion of the textile workshop, which most women were herded into after the Vorkurs: Gunta Stölzl (master of the weaving workshop), Gertrud Arndt, Benita Koch-Otte, Otti Berger, Dorte Helm, and Anni Albers.
Reading: "New Women, New Men, New Objectivity", by Maria Makela in New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic 1919-1933, edited by Stephanie Barron and Sabine Eckmann (Los Angeles County Museum of Art: 2015), pp. 51-54.
Session 3: February 22, 2023:
The women of other workshops: Marianne Brandt (metalworking); Lucia Hecht (photography and translator), Lilly Reich who worked with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (architecture), Alma Siedhoff-Buscher (woodworking), Margarete Heymann (ceramics), Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp (mural painting, colorist, and children's book author), and Ilse Fehling (theater sets and design).
Reading: "Lucia Moholy's Bauhaus Photography and the Issue of the Hidden Jew" by Rose-Carol Washton Long in Woman's Art Journal, Fall/Winter 2014), pp. 37-46.
Session 4: March 1, 2023:
Special topics and the aftermath of the women of the Bauhaus: Bauhaus women's works, which still live on today: Marianne Brandt's tea service and lamps; Koch-Otte's fabrics which are still in production; Otti Berger's fabrics which live on in collections from the Met to the Art Institute of Chicago; Alma Buscher's "small ship-building game", which remains in production today; Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp's whimsical children's books, coming-of-age narratives told through the lens of fantastical adventures, such as The Stories of Jan and Jon and their Pilot Fish (1947), which are considered part of the children's book canon today.
Finally, we will look at the life and works of Maya Lin and how her early success as an architect may derive, in part, from the fight waged by the Bauhaus Mädels, or did she experience sexual discrimination as well?
Reading: Chapter Title: May Women Practice Architecture? The First Century of Debate, from Where Are the Women Architects? by Despina Stratigakos, (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 2016), pp. 5-20.