Das Bauhaus in der Provinz, Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Oldenburg

The research project “The Bauhaus in Oldenburg – Avant-garde in the Provinces” examines the history of cooperation between the Landesmuseum Oldenburg with the Bauhaus movement during the period of the Weimar Republic. It also highlights the work of four Bauhaus members from the Oldenburg region and East Frisia, acting as representatives of the spreading and reverberations of the Bauhaus philosophy in the provinces. The exemplary biographies of Hermann Gautel, Hans Martin Fricke, Karl Schwoon and Hin Bredendieck serve to reconstruct the story behind the liberal and innovative Bauhaus concept. It tells us of the utopia, adaptation and emigration of the Bauhaus ideas, and illustrates their considerable influence right up to the present day. 
The Landesmuseum Oldenburg has already been connected to the Federal Bauhaus since its founding years. Walter Müller-Wulckow, who was appointed founding director of the Landesmuseum in 1921, was one of the first museum directors in Germany to support the Bauhaus ideas by acquiring furniture and products. In close collaboration with the Oldenburg “Vereinigung für junge Kunst” (Association for Young Art) a transfer of the pioneering ideas of the Weimar and Dessau avant-garde school into the provinces could thus be achieved. Moreover, Müller-Wulckow inspired artists from the Oldenburg region to complete their studies at the Bauhaus. Inspired, supported and conveyed by the Oldenburg initiatives, this resulted in the formation of a Bauhaus students group from the Oldenburg region and East Frisia, who persistently endeavoured to pass on and spread the virus of Modernism and the experiences gained from the landmark art school.

Key Issues for the Symposium

  • Influence and Effects of the Bauhaus in and on the Region: In which way did the knowledge and skills resulting from the studies at the Bauhaus continue to impact the home regions of the Bauhaus graduates and the areas remote from the epicentres Weimar, Dessau and Berlin? Which effects did the Bauhaus experiences have on the artisan and industrial manufacturing in the region?
  • Impact of the Metal Workshop: The designs from the metal workshop at the Bauhaus were executed and developed further by companies like Kandem, Thonet or the Swiss manufacturer Turgi. Which new findings related to product developments and product lines have enhanced existing standards of knowledge? 
  • Tubular Steel in the Provinces: In which way were the developments of the metal workshop, in particular the invention of tubular steel furniture, adopted and modified by regional manufacturers?
  • Ruptured Biographies: At the latest since the publication of “Bauhaus-Moderne im Nationalsozialismus” (Bauhaus Modernism in National Socialism), the ?ruptured biographies? have been debated controversially. Bauhaus members were not per se beyond becoming followers or even functionaries of the Nazi regime. As revealed by the example from Oldenburg of Hans Martin Fricke, national leader of the Reich Chamber of Culture in the Third Reich, it is crucial to comment on such life histories.
  • Bauhaus in Exile: Numerous emigrants contributed to the continuing international significance of the Bauhaus ideas. Aside from the Black Mountain College and the New Bauhaus Chicago, the great influence of the Bauhaus has even been kept alive at hitherto less recognised educational institutions, such as Hin Bredendieck’s domain in Atlanta.
  • Reeducation – Rebuilding – Economic Miracle: The Aftereffects of the Bauhaus Ideas after 1945: In what way and at which places did former Bauhaus members influence the cultural development in postwar Germany? What became of the ideals of the avant-garde school of the Weimar Republic in the divided Germany?

Interested parties are kindly invited to submit their proposal (ca. 300 words) for a lecture of about 30 minutes and a short CV by 30 April 2017. A selection of contributions is scheduled to be published after the symposium.

Please send your proposals to:

Gloria Köpnick,  g.koepnick at landesmuseen-ol.de
Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Oldenburg