LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Getty Research Institute
announced the acquisition of an extremely rare complete portfolio of prints issued by the Weimar Bauhaus in 1921. This set of fourteen prints, created by the early masters of the Bauhaus during the schools Weimar period, represents the beginning of a mission to integrate avant-garde design with industry and craft in an attempt to foster a modern, utopian way of life.
The portfolio, formally titled Bauhaus Drucke: Neue Europäische Graphik I: Erste Mappe: Meister des Staatlichen Bauhauses in Weimar (192122) includes fourteen works by seven artists: Lyonel Feininger (18711956), Johannes Itten (18881967), Paul Klee (18791940), Gerhard Marcks (18891981), George Muche (18951987), Oskar Schlemmer (18881943), and Lothar Schreyer (18861966). Eight of the fourteen prints will be featured in the upcoming exhibition The Getty Research Institute: Recent Print Acquisitions on view at the GRI April 7 through September 2, 2012.
This outstanding set of early Bauhaus prints exemplifies the early innovation of one of the most important and deeply influential movements in 20th century art and design, said Thomas Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute. Acquiring this rare, important portfolio is part of the Getty Research Institutes commitment to building a collection of art and archival material that work together to illuminate the history of printmaking.
In 1921 the Bauhaus began issuing a series of print portfolios under the title Bauhaus Drucke: Neue Europäische Graphik with three goals: to give students printmaking experience; to raise money for the school; and, via the work of its masters, students and international avant-garde artists, to illustrate the Bauhauss artistic philosophies. However, the program was not a financial success and in 1924, after five portfolios had been issued, the school discontinued the series. The set newly acquired by the GRI is the first of this series. The GRI already owns the complete third portfolio, Bauhaus Drucke: Neue Europäische Graphik III: Dritte Mappe: Deutsche Künstler (1921) as well as an extensive collection of archival material and artworks related to the Bauhaus.
Complete editions of any of the Bauhaus print portfolios are extremely rarethe first portfolio especially soand each print in the set stands alone as a unique work of art. The techniques represented in the pristinely well-preserved portfolio include etching, lithograph, and woodcut, printed on different paper, including some colored pages, each with titles designed by Feininger. The prints are housed in the original binder, and each is signed by the artist.
In all of these prints, complex design and sometimes whimsical themes underscore the theoretical and creative foundations of the Bauhauss pedagogical program. The mix of techniques and styles in this Bauhaus Drucke mirrors the inclination toward both craft and industry that was especially prevalent during the Bauhaus early Weimar period, said Louis Marchesano, curator of prints and drawings at the Getty Research Institute.
This portfolio will be an integral part of an extensive collection of material at the GRI relating to the Bauhaus. Key items in the collection include: Bauhaus correspondence from 19231933; Bauhaus student work, 19191933; a Bauhaus typography collection, 19191937; letters of Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and László Moholy-Nagy, amongst other affiliated faculty (including the papers of Kandinsky); sixty newspaper clippings relating to the Bauhaus, ca. 19201932; 182 photographs of Bauhaus students, teachers, and exhibits, 19191933; and 14 postcards about the Bauhaus from 19221926. The collection includes works of art made during the Bauhaus period by Itten, Schlemmer, and Schreyer as well as Farkas Molnar, Josef Hartwig, Albert Flocon, Curt Corrinth, and Friedl Dicker. Additionally, the J. Paul Getty Museum houses an extensive collection of Bauhaus photography, including work by Moholy-Nagy, Lucia Moholy, Erich Consemüller, Walter Peterhans, T. Lux Feininger, Edmund Collein, and Irene Bayer-Hecht.
Photographs by Lyonel Feininger, as well as those by other masters and students at the Bauhaus are currently included in the exhibition Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 19281939, on view through March 11, 2012 at the Getty Museum.