Bauhaus Beginnings at the Getty Research Institute

As an art history major I wrote my fair share of research papers. As such, I was constantly making my way to the Getty to study the works on display. It got to the point where I knew the campus well and felt like an expert in all things Getty. Except for the Research Institute – for some reason I never found a chance to visit and that particular area remained unknown to me. Recently, I finally made my way there to preview the exhibit Bauhaus Beginnings.

While the Research Institute largely is a resource for scholars it does have a public gallery that anyone can visit and currently on display is the comprehensive exhibit Bauhaus Beginnings. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus school and the significant event is commemorated with an exhibition of objects pertaining to its early years.

As an art history major I concentrated on Renaissance Art so my knowledge of the Bauhaus is fairly limited. I’ve long been a fan of the architectural style but really didn’t know much more about this significant art movement. So when I viewed Bauhaus Beginnings I was completely blown away by the vast subject matter contained within.

After World War I the Bauhaus School was formed in Germany with a brand new approach to art and education. No longer wanting to distinguish between fine art and crafts it offered an egalitarian approach to creative work. With one eye toward medieval works of the past and the other towards a modern, simple design future the school was highly innovative and out of it came such notable artists as Vassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.

While works by such masters as Klee and Kandinsky are shown in the exhibit they are not the primary focus. Instead, it is the school itself and in keeping with its egalitarian ways the works of great artists are intermixed with the works of unknown students. The result is a comprehensive exhibit offering an overview of the school as a whole rather than it’s most notable alumni.

Bauhaus Beginnings is a detailed look into the early days of the Bauhaus. Thanks to the Getty’s vast collection of prints, drawings, photos and other works there is an enormous selection on display – some of which are making their public debut.

I thoroughly enjoyed wandering through the exhibition and learning about a movement that had long fascinated me but which I knew little about. Now I know so much more and am eager to keep learning all about Bauhaus. Luckily, there is also a companion exhibit Bauhaus: Building the New Artist which is entirely online. If you can’t make it to the Getty or just want to delve further into the movement you can visit this interactive exhibition and learn all about the Bauhaus curriculum from Form and Colors to Matters and Materials to Body and Spirit.

Bauhaus Beginnings is on view at the Getty Research Institute until October 13, 2019 and is included with regular museum admission

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