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Bauhaus Typography Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Arrangement note
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Access
  • Publication Rights

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections
    Title: Bauhaus typography collection
    Creator: Studio Z (Firm)
    Creator: Schawinsky, Xanti, 1904-1979
    Creator: Loew, Heinz
    Creator: Winter, Fritz, 1905-1976
    Creator: Albers, Josef
    Creator: Schmidt, Kurt, 1901-1991
    Creator: Marcks, Gerhard
    Creator: Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944
    Creator: Molnár, Farkas
    Creator: Kreis der Freunde des Bauhauses
    Creator: Stam-Beese, Lotte, 1903-1988
    Creator: Teltschner, Georg
    Creator: Hartwig, Josef
    Creator: Ehrlich, Franz, 1907-1984
    Creator: Bayer, Herbert, 1900-1985
    Creator: Schlemmer, Oskar, 1888-1943
    Creator: Hirschfeld-Mack, Ludwig
    Creator: Tschichold, Jan, 1902-1974
    Creator: Häberer, Paul
    Creator: Schmidt, Joost, 1893-1948
    Creator: Klee, Paul, 1879-1940
    Creator: Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969
    Creator: Helm, Dörte, 1898-1941
    Creator: Meyer, Hannes, 1889-1954
    Creator: Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946
    Creator: Feininger, Lyonel, 1871-1956
    Creator: Bauhaus
    Creator: Dexel, Walter, 1890-1973
    Creator: Baschant, Rudolf
    Creator: Comeriner, Erich
    Creator: Itten, Johannes, 1888-1967
    Identifier/Call Number: 850513
    Physical Description: 2.92 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1919-1937
    Abstract: A collection of printing published by the Bauhaus from 1919 to 1933, designed by Bauhaus teachers and students for internal school purposes and for outside commercial use, as well as other printing relating to the Bauhaus. The collection comprises a wide variety of printed matter, from ephemeral publications to whole issues of periodicals and exhibition catalogs, which are exemplary of what became identified as Bauhaus style typography and design. Most items were designed by Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer, and Joost Schmidt. Other designers represented in this collection include Josef Albers, Erich Comeriner, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Häberer, Dörte Helm, and Xanti Schawinsky.
    Physical Location: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language of Material: Collection material is in German

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1985.

    Processing History

    The collection was first processed after being acquired in 1985. Isabella Zuralski reprocessed the collection in 2008-2009 and wrote the finding aid.

    Arrangement note

    Organized in five series: I. Weimar, 1919-1925; II. Dessau, 1925-1932; III. Berlin, 1932-1933; IV. Bauhaus artists and designers, 1919-1937; V. Bauhaus publications, 1924-1937.

    Biographical / Historical Note

    The Bauhaus was known for its innovative teaching methods and new approach towards art, architecture, and crafts. It was founded in 1919 in Weimar with the city's financial support. In 1928, due to loss of funding, it moved to Dessau where it remained in operation until 1932. The school reopened for a short time in Berlin, but was closed in 1933 by the newly formed Nazi government. László Moholy-Nagy attempted to revive Bauhaus teachings in Chicago in 1937.
    Under its first director, the German architect Walter Gropius, new methods of instruction were developed at the Bauhaus based on the premise that art, crafts, and architecture must unite with technology and modern industry geared towards mass production, not only to meet the needs of society, but also to create and shape a new lifestyle. The ideas taught at the Bauhaus and the artistic output of its students and teachers contributed significantly to subsequent developments in architecture, art, industrial and interior design, graphic design and typography. Gropius led the Bauhaus until 1928. His successor was the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer, known for his new functionalist approach to architecture and political views leaning towards Communism. Under political pressure, Meyer was forced to resign in 1930. He was replaced by the German architect Mies van der Rohe.
    During the Weimar years typography increasingly gained prominence in the work of the Bauhaus teacher László Moholy-Nagy and his student, the graphic designer Herbert Bayer, but a formal workshop for typography was not part of the Bauhaus until 1925. After the school's relocation to Dessau, under Bayer's charge, the newly installed workshop developed into a professional studio for graphic design and commercial art. The study of the communicative potential of letterforms and typographic layout was part of a basic curriculum in the mechanics of visual education. Such innovations as the elimination of capital letters, and the replacement of the archaic Gothic alphabet used in German printing by a modern "cosmopolitan" font, and the concept of composition based on strong geometrical elements and expressive values of colors, testify to a move away from individually handcrafted and traditionally shaped goods towards objects meeting functional requirements suitable for mass production. In this regard, what became known as Bauhaus typography was also part of the social and political reform taking place at the school.

    Preferred Citation

    Bauhaus typography collection, 1919-1937, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 850513

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection comprises mostly ephemeral printing published by the Bauhaus between 1919 and 1933, designed by Bauhaus teachers and students for internal school purposes and for outside commercial use, as well as some other printing relating to the Bauhaus. Most items were designed by Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer, and Joost Schmidt. Other designers are Josef Albers, Rudolf Baschant, Erich Comeriner, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Häberer, Josef Hartwig, Dörte Helm, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Gerhard Marcks, Wolfgang (Farkas) Molnár, Xanti Schawinsky, Kurt Schmidt, Georg Teltschner, Jan Tschichold, and the designer group Studio Z (Franz Ehrlich, Heinz Loew, Fritz Winter). The collection comprises a wide variety of types of printed matter: advertisements, announcements, book covers, broadsides, brochures, currency, forms, exhibition announcements and catalogs, invitations, letterheads, manifestoes, memos, pamphlets, periodicals, postcards, programs, prospectuses, school curricula, tickets, and trade catalogs. Bauhaus School letterheads include incidental correspondence of Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and others. Also present are issues of student publications Der Austausch and Bauhaus, Sprachrohr der Studierenden.
    The collection is organized into five series. The first three series correspond with the two relocations of the school from Weimar to Dessau and from Dessau to Berlin, and are organized within each series chronologically by year. This arrangement follows the development of Bauhaus typography and graphic design in the context of the aesthetic and political changes taking place at the school, from its early ties to Expressionism to Walter Gropius's radical turn towards a new style of architecture and the design of consumer goods which are functional, inexpensive and consistent with mass production. The last two series comprise examples of Bauhaus typography in the work of individual Bauhaus arists and designers, and in various types of Bauhaus publications. Largely assembled by Walter Dexel, the German artist associated with Constructivism, this collection served as the basis for Gerd Fleischmann's 1984 publication Bauhaus: Drucksachen, Typografie, Reklame [Düsseldorf : Marzona, 1984.] Page references to items included in Fleischmann's book are given at the end of scope and contents notes.


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Graphic design (Typography) -- Germany -- 20th century
    Furniture design -- Germany -- 20th century
    Printed ephemera -- Germany -- 20th century
    Graphic arts -- Germany -- 20th century
    Postcards -- Germany -- 20th century
    Book jackets -- Germany -- 20th century
    Printing -- Germany -- 20th century
    Offset lithographs -- Germany -- 20th century
    Forms (documents) -- Germany -- 20th century
    Prospectuses -- Germany -- 20th century
    Advertisements -- Germany -- 20th century
    Lithographs -- Germany -- 20th century
    Letterheads -- Germany -- 20th century
    Invitations -- Germany -- 20th century
    Woodcuts (prints) -- Germany -- 20th century