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Arts

Weimar exhibition kicks off Bauhaus centennial

Bauhaus members wanted to revolutionize the arts by returning to artisanry and creating total works of art. Sculptor Gerhard Marcks helped shape the school. His works are on show to mark its centennial - two years early.

2019 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus art and design school, which was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar, but celebrations are already beginning. 

Looking ahead to the anniversary year, the Neues Museum Weimar is launching an exhibition on Thursday featuring the art of Bauhaus sculptor Gerhard Marcks and his friends. They were pioneers in what would become the most influential hub for modern architecture, art and design in the 20th century before it was closed by the Nazis in 1933. 

Sculptor Gerhard Marcks (1889-1981) was among the first lecturers at the Bauhaus and one of its most important advocates of revolutionizing all the arts. 

Gerhard Marcks at work in his atelier (VG Bildkunst Bonn, 2017)

Gerhard Marcks at work in his atelier

He called for a return to artisanry for architects, sculptors and painters alike, says Anke Blümm, curator of the exhibition "Paths from the Bauhaus - Gerhard Marcks and His Circle of Friends." 

"Marcks and his colleagues distanced themselves from another Bauhaus style developed from 1923 onwards by Martin Gropius, which focused more on technology and industry."

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Marcks and his students, including potter Marguerite Friedlaender-Wildenhain (1896-1985), silversmith Wolfgang Tümpel (1903-1978) and painter Johannes Driesch (1901-1930), pursued the traditional ethos of the crafts, as the exhibition shows.

The more than 200 exhibits, among them sculptures, drawings, paintings and pottery, illustrate the artists' self-conception. Marcks and his friends influenced each other, even serving as models for each other's portraits. 

"Our objective is to show that Bauhaus was very complex," says Blümm, "and that the movement cannot be reduced to steel furniture and a new typography."

The exhibition "Paths from the Bauhaus - Gerhard Marcks and His Circle of Friends" runs through November 5, 2017 in the Neues Museum Weimar, and from November 26, 2017 through March 4, 2018, in the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus in Bremen.

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