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19 March 2020The Bauhaus, A Hundred years of Modern Design
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The Bauhaus, A Hundred years of Modern Design Anne Anderson Thursday 19 March 2020

Founded in the wake of the World War under the leadership of Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus strove to create a design ethos for a brave new world. Buildings and interiors, domestic things used on a daily basis, needed to reflect the demands of modern industrial life rather than hark back to historical forms; functional and utilitarian imperatives ousted decoration, now seen to be superfluous. Indeed, some even viewed decoration as a form of corruption; the New Objectivity demanded rational, functional, sometimes standardized building. Consequently the Bauhaus aesthetic was driven by the sleek lines of cars, ships and planes. Designers experimented with new materials such as tubular steel and plywood. The mantra of the Bauhaus shifted from art and craft to art and industry, with furniture designer Marcel Breuer conceiving industrial prototypes. Only by embracing mass-production and standardisation could good design be truly democratic.   Driven by socialist ideologies, design gained a political imperative. Inevitably the school, based in Weimar, soon experienced political pressure from conservative circles in local politics. Moving to Dessau, Gropius designed a new school as well as housing for the Bauhaus masters, who numbered the artists Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, as well as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, its architectural director. It was Mies who directed the last years of the Bauhaus in Berlin before it was closed by the Nazis. With many of those associated with the Bauhaus immigrating to America, Modernism was transformed into an International Style that dominated architecture until the 1970s. It’s still with us in the 21st century; the iconic Bauhaus chairs quite at home in the post-modern home.

With a first degree in archaeology and a PhD in English, Anne was a senior lecturer in Art and Design History at Southampton Solent University for 14 year. During 2009-2010, Anne worked on Closer to Home the reopening exhibition at Leighton House Museum, Kensington. She has curated three national exhibitions, including The Truth About Faeries (2009-11) and Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree (2013). Her book on The Perseus Series was published for the Edward Burne-Jones exhibition (2018). She has held several prestigious fellowships including Fellow of the Huntington Library, CA (2008 and 2018) and Fellow of the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Library and Museum (2009/10). Currently a tutor for the V&A Learning Academy, Anne specialises in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement. Her career as an international speaker has taken her all over the world, including Jersey, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. She undertook her fourth lecture tour of Australia, for ADFAS, in 2018