Date of Degree

2-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Art History

Advisor(s)

Rose-Carol Washton Long

Committee Members

Romy Golan

Rosemarie Bletter

Barry Bergdoll

Subject Categories

Modern Art and Architecture

Keywords

Bauhaus, murals, wall painting, wallpaper

Abstract

The wall painting workshop at the Bauhaus was established in fall 1919, the first semester of the famed and influential German school of art, architecture, and design. Over the course of the next thirteen years, the workshop experimented with many techniques, philosophies, and strategies for painting, coloring, and covering wall surfaces. This dissertation analyzes the evolving approaches of the Bauhaus wall painting workshop. Early Masters of Form, Oskar Schlemmer and Wassily Kandinsky, oversaw abstract and figurative murals like those developed for the 1923 Bauhaus exhibition, and the student wall painters used color to form and mold architectural spaces in, for example, Walter Gropius’s colored office and the experimental Haus am Horn. In 1924 Kandinsky identified color as the workshop’s medium, which was applied in a variety of approaches by the former students and later leaders of the workshop, Hinnerk Scheper and Alfred Arndt. Arndt’s painting scheme in Haus Auerbach and Scheper’s supervision of the coloration of the new Bauhaus Dessau school building are central to this dissertation and provide excellent examples of these two wall painters’ approaches and differing philosophies. In 1929, during Hannes Meyer’s directorship at the Bauhaus, a new opportunity arose for the workshop to design mass-produced wall color, which would enable color to be more efficiently, cheaply, and uniformly applied. Subsequently, Bauhaus wallpaper became the most profitable Bauhaus product and was quickly hanging on the walls of large housing estates and in retail stores throughout Germany. Murals, wall painting schemes, and wallpapers beyond the Bauhaus, in the architecture of, for example, Bruno Taut and Le Corbusier, provide comprehensive and international comparisons for the Bauhaus projects. This dissertation explores the many restored and recreated Bauhaus wall paintings, while addressing the frictions inherent in collaborations between architect and wall painter and the tension in merging color with architectural form at the Bauhaus.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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