The Harvard Art Museums— comprised of the Fogg Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, and four research facilities—have launched a digital cache of all things Bauhaus. The free-to-use Bauhaus Special Collection includes records for over 32,000 photographs, paintings, drawings, published works, and other Bauhaus-related objects from the museums' archives.
The launch arrives three years ahead of a planned exhibition to commemorate Bauhaus' centennial with an emphasis on the renowned German art school's deeply ingrained connections to Harvard. “Both during and after the school’s brief existence in Europe, Harvard was a key site for the reception, documentation, and dissemination of Bauhaus ideas,” says Robert Wiesenberger, the Stefan Engelhorn Curatorial Fellow at Busch-Reisinger. “This came about through the work of its students, museum curators, and émigré faculty.” Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius brought the Gesamtkunstwerk discipline to Harvard as chair of the Graduate School of Design from 1937 until 1952. His invitation to Bauhaus student, Marcel Breuer, to join the faculty laid the foundation for one of the 20th century's most influential partnerships in American residential design.
While the collection is aimed at student researchers and academics, Wiesenberger emphasizes its versatile functions for public use. “We want this to appeal to all levels,” Wiesenberger said. “If you’ve never heard of the Bauhaus, you can use it. If you’re writing your dissertation on the Bauhaus, you will hopefully find new and rich material. One hundred years later, the relevance of the Bauhaus remains undiminished.”