From 1919 to 1933, in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin, the Bauhaus established a new kind of school where painters, architects, artisans, engineers, actors, musicians, photographers and designers worked together to forge a new concept of daily living: breathing new life into our habitat through a synthesis of the visual arts, craftsmanship and industry. How did this school bring together teachers as contrary as the mystic Johannes Itten and the rational Laszlo Moholy Nagy, and former pupils as different as the photographer Florence Henry and the architect Marcel Breuer, the pope of tubular furniture? The Bauhaus overcame these apparent contradictions because it was above all the spirit of the school that mattered. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is paying tribute to this spirit of invention, freedom, creation and the passing on of knowledge and skills that the great artists, architects and designers who taught and studied at the Bauhaus went on to propagate throughout the 20th century.
The exhibition traces the periods and forms of art that forged the Bauhaus spirit: the Middle Ages and the construction of the cathedrals, the arts of the Asian and Islamic worlds, and the British Arts and Crafts movement that abolished the frontiers between art and craftsmanship. Works illustrating these sources will create a dialogue with historic Bauhaus pieces, but also with contemporary counterparts, including works by Székély, Matthieu Mercier, Karen Bisch, Sheila Hicks and Ulla von Brandenburg.
Daily life in the Bauhaus studios and the organisation of an artistic community will be the key threads running through this exhibition exploring a fundamental landmark in art history still little known to the French public.