»Unique Documentation of European Modernism« – University Library to host exhibition on »Bauhaus Books« in 2019

In April 2019 for 100 Years of Bauhaus, the University Library in Weimar will host an exhibition on the »Bauhaus Books«. The series of 14 volumes published by the Munich-based Albert Langen publishing house between 1925 and 1930 will be presented in a large exhibition for visitors to experience. The book covers will play a special role in this as they are today considered highlights of book and cover design of the 1920s. The touring exhibition is due to open at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar on 10 April 2019.

From the vision to the reality of a publishing house at the Weimar Bauhaus
Walter Gropius outlined his idea of a publishing house at the Weimar Bauhaus as early as the summer of 1922. In the Bauhaus »statutes«, the planned publishing house is tasked with »disseminating and promoting the ideas and works of the Bauhaus and related endeavours in word and image«. However, the activities of the Bauhaus publishing house that was founded in 1923 – at the height of the hyperinflation – were short-lived. At the same time, the idea of a book series, the »Bauhaus Books« had been in discussion since 1923 – with the arrival of the Hungarian designer László Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus. The book series ultimately became a reality starting in 1925 through a cooperation with the Albert Langen publishing house based in Munich. The concept and design for the series are clearly a project of the Weimar Bauhaus phase.

In 1925, eight volumes of the new series were published, all of which were completed between 1923 and 1925. Six more volumes were released by 1930. With books and pamphlets by Gropius and Moholy-Nagy as well as publications from the Bauhaus masters Kandinsky, Klee, and Schlemmer, the series presented the work of the Bauhaus and its artists themselves on the one hand, and functioned as a publication platform for leading voices of European modernism on the other. The Dutchmen Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian, and Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud were among the authors of the first volumes, as were the Frenchman Albert Gleizes and the Russian Kazimir Malevich. »In terms of both the content and the design, the series thus became a unique documentation of European modernism,« explains Dr. Frank Simon-Ritz, Director of the University Library in Weimar. In addition to Weimar, the project could also be exhibited in other locations. »We conceived the exhibition as a touring exhibition that can also easily be displayed elsewhere,« Simon-Ritz adds.

Michael Siebenbrodt as exhibition curator
The library also attracted the experienced exhibition creator Michael Siebenbrodt as curator, who is also the long-running curator of the Bauhaus Museum Weimar. For Siebenbrodt, one special aspect is illutrating the link between the Bauhaus Books and the activities of the Weimar Bauhaus »The exhibition brings the ›Bauhaus books‹ together with the original photo collection of the Bauhaus for the first time. The international Bauhaus network can also be experienced,« says Siebenbrodt of the special nature of the exhibition. The historical »Bauhaus Albums« photo collection today forms part of the »Modernist Archive« collections at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. In particular, the exhibition documents the origins of the images used in the volumes entitled »Ein Versuchshaus des Bauhauses in Weimar« [»An Experimental Bauhaus House in Weimar«] (Bauhaus Books 3) and »Neue Arbeiten der Bauhauswerkstätten« [»New Work from the Bauhaus Workshops«] (Bauhaus Books 7).

Cooperation partners:
The Modernist Archive and the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar are the cooperation partners for this exhibition, which mostly draws on the University Library collections in Weimar. Specifically, these institutions— whose collections complement those of the University Library in Weimar— provide digital materials for the exhibition. The exhibition is supported financially by the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar Circle of Friends and the Thuringian State Chancellery.

»The Bauhaus Books«
A European publishing project of the Bauhaus from 1924 to 1930

An exhibition at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
10 April to 24 July 2019

In case of questions, please contact Dr. Frank Simon-Ritz, Director of the University Library in Weimar:

Dr. Frank Simon-Ritz
Director, University Library
Tel.: +49 (0) 36 43 / 58 28 00
Email: frank.simon-ritz[at]uni-weimar.de