One of the classic works of the Bauhaus school currently the subject of an exhibition at Londons Barbican Centre is to be auctioned at Bonhams
Prints Sale in London on 11 July. It is estimated at £70,000- 100,000 - a reflection both of its importance and rarity.
Meistermappe des Staatlichen Bauhauses (Masters' Portfolio of the Staatliches Bauhaus) consists of eight works by masters or assistant teachers at the school including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Lionel Feininger. Issued in 1923, it was published in an edition of 100 and sold to raise money at a time when rampant inflation in Germany had badly eroded the value of the schools funding.
Bauhaus was established in Weimar after the First World War with the express aim of using art and design to transform modern life in the post-war, post Imperial era in Germany. It is now synonymous with a particular style and look but as this portfolio demonstrates, there was no one definitive approach. The works range from an abstract lithograph, 'Fröhlicher Aufstieg' by Kandinsky though a scene of domestic content in Gerhard Marcks woodcut 'Am Ofen' to Paul Klees mischievously erotic, 'Der Verliebte'. Other prints include Lyonel Feiningers 'Gelmeroda' Lothar Schreyers 'Untitled, Georg Muches 'Auf dem Tisch'(S20), Oscar Schlemmers 'Abstrakte Figur' and Composition by Ladislaus Moholy-Nagy.
The portfolio was closely overseen by Feininger, the head of the schools Printing Workshop, who personally supervised the production of each of the 800 prints which make up the 100 sets. The set to be sold is numbered 45 and each print is signed by its artist.