Castle and Sun (1928) by Paul Klee

Art History: Bauhaus in Art (c. 1920s - 1930s)

The Bauhaus movement, which emerged in the early 20th century, was a groundbreaking school of art, design, and architecture that had a profound impact on the world of visual arts. Founded by architect Walter Gropius in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, Bauhaus aimed to bridge the gap between art and craftsmanship, integrating various artistic disciplines into a cohesive whole. This article delves into the main art styles associated with Bauhaus and introduces five famous painters along with two of their notable paintings from the period spanning the 1920s to the early 1930s.

Art Styles of the Bauhaus Movement

The Bauhaus movement was characterized by a synthesis of different art forms, emphasizing functionality, simplicity, and modernity. Two prominent art styles associated with Bauhaus are:

1. Minimalism

Minimalism was a central theme in the Bauhaus philosophy. Artists focused on stripping away unnecessary elements, opting for clean lines, geometric shapes, and a reduction of colors. This style aimed to achieve a sense of purity and clarity in the artwork.

2. Constructivism

Constructivism emphasized the use of industrial materials and geometric forms to create visually dynamic compositions. Artists sought to explore the relationship between form and function while celebrating the aesthetics of modern technology.

Five Famous Bauhaus Painters

1. Paul Klee (1879 - 1940)

Paul Klee was a Swiss-German painter known for his distinctive use of color and intricate symbolism. His works often straddle the boundary between abstraction and representation, creating a dreamlike quality. Two of his famous paintings are:

  • "Senecio" (1922): This painting exemplifies Klee's playful use of geometric shapes to form a whimsical face, showcasing his unique approach to abstraction.
  • "Castle and Sun" (1928): Klee's fascination with geometry is evident in this piece, where he combines various shapes to create a vibrant and imaginative landscape.

2. Wassily Kandinsky (1866 - 1944)

Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter and art theorist, is often hailed as one of the pioneers of abstract art. He believed that color and form could convey spiritual and emotional states. Notable paintings include:

  • "Composition VII" (1913): Though slightly earlier than the Bauhaus period, this work displays Kandinsky's mastery of abstraction, with dynamic shapes and bold colors that evoke a sense of movement.
  • "Several Circles" (1926): In this painting, Kandinsky employs a variety of circles, each with its distinct color and size, to explore the interplay of form and emotion.

3. László Moholy-Nagy (1895 - 1946)

László Moholy-Nagy was a Hungarian painter and photographer who played a crucial role at the Bauhaus school. His innovative use of materials and emphasis on technology led to groundbreaking works such as:

  • "Photogram" (1926): This unique piece is created without a camera by placing objects directly onto light-sensitive paper. Moholy-Nagy's exploration of light and shadow is apparent in this striking composition.
  • "Composition A IX" (1928): Known for his fascination with the interplay of lines and shapes, Moholy-Nagy's abstract composition exemplifies the Constructivist principles of the Bauhaus movement.

4. Oskar Schlemmer (1888 - 1943)



Oskar Schlemmer, a German painter and choreographer, is renowned for his exploration of the human form within abstract and geometric settings. His influential works include:

  • "Bauhaus Stairway" (1932): In this painting, Schlemmer combines his interest in the human figure with architectural elements, portraying figures as geometric shapes in a surreal environment.
  • "Triadic Ballet" (1925): While not a traditional painting, Schlemmer's ballet production features avant-garde costumes and choreography that epitomize the Bauhaus spirit.

5. Josef Albers (1888 - 1976)



Josef Albers, a German-American artist and educator, made significant contributions to the field of color theory and abstraction. His meticulous exploration of color relationships is evident in works like:

  • "Homage to the Square: Apparition" (1959): Although slightly beyond the 1930s, this series reflects Albers' lifelong dedication to investigating color interactions through the arrangement of squares.
  • "Structural Constellation" (1938): Albers' earlier works, such as this one, demonstrate his interest in Constructivist principles, emphasizing the geometric and structural aspects of art.


The Bauhaus movement remains a pivotal chapter in the history of art, leaving an indelible mark on modern and contemporary artistic practices. By focusing on minimalism and constructivism, the movement challenged traditional artistic norms, leading to groundbreaking explorations of form, color, and function. The works of Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer, and Josef Albers continue to inspire artists and enthusiasts worldwide, encapsulating the innovative spirit of the Bauhaus era.


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