Herbert Bayer: Bauhaus Master
This exhibition was on display from November 16, 2019 to March 13, 2020.
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Herbert Bayer (American, born Austria, active Germany and USA, 1900–1985) was a student and teacher at the Bauhaus. This famous German art and design school, which operated from 1919 to 1933, sought to integrate art, design, and daily life. At the Bauhaus, Bayer experimented with geometry, photomontage, and functional typography to help forge a new approach to graphic design. He applied Bauhaus theories of art and design to commercial practice and promoted the Bauhaus legacy to the public during a prolific career spanning over six decades and two continents.
As a student during the early years of the Bauhaus, Bayer utilized hand-drawn letters and basic geometry to create posters, postcards, and murals. In 1925, he became a "young master" at the Bauhaus and established a modernized print shop in the school's new building in Dessau. Here, he deployed photography and machine-based printing to promote the school and its products, such as furniture, housewares, and wallpaper.
After leaving the Bauhaus in 1928, Bayer worked in Berlin and in 1938 he left Germany for New York City. He eventually moved to Aspen, Colorado, a town he helped transform into a thriving cultural center. In the United States, Bayer created information graphics, books, advertisements, exhibitions, architecture, and magazine layouts for diverse clients, and he pioneered the field of corporate design.
This exhibition marks the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, in 1919.
Many of the objects displayed in this exhibition, including all the works from the Bauhaus period, have been generously loaned by Merrill C. Berman. In 2015, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum acquired over 500 pieces documenting Bayer's later career, made possible through a gift from the Taub Foundation. They are presented here to the public for the first time.