May 9–Sep 15, 2024

Bauhaus and National Socialism

Stéphane-Hessel-Platz 1, 99423 Weimar
Mon 10 am–14, Tue–Sun 10 am–6 pm

The first exhibition on the subject of “Bauhaus and National Socialism” illustrates the diverse paths that artists took in dealing with a totalitarian system of rule.

The annual exhibition of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar deals publicly with the topic of “Bauhaus and National Socialism” for the first time. At three locations in Weimar, the show shows around 450 art and design objects from private collections and renowned museums in Europe and the USA. The works illustrate the complex political history of the Bauhaus up to its closure in 1933 and show the extremely different lives of the Bauhaus members under National Socialism.

In the Museum Neues Weimar, under the title “Political Struggles around the Bauhaus 1919−1933,” the artistic and political conflicts that began with the founding of the art institution in Weimar and continued unabated in Dessau and Berlin are examined. In the Bauhaus Museum, under the heading "Suspended - Confiscated - Adapted 1930/1937" it is about the confiscation of "degenerate art" in 1937 and its predecessor in Weimar: As early as 1930, over 70 works by artists such as Lyonel Feininger and Paul Klee had to be removed from the museum Castle Museum will be removed. Over 450 works were confiscated in 1937 - a cultural loss in the collections that is still noticeable today. The main part of the exhibition in the Schiller Museum deals with Bauhaus members and their “life paths during the dictatorship 1933-1945”. The station addresses the balancing act that they walked in the face of the new political conditions after 1933. Many Bauhaus members had little choice: they lost their jobs and fled into exile because of their origins. At least twenty-one Bauhauslers were killed in Nazi prisons or concentration camps. But the majority remained unmolested in Germany. The former Bauhaus students took part in National Socialist propaganda exhibitions or presented their works at design fairs. They designed film posters, furniture, household goods and even Hitler busts.

The three-part exhibition aims to show new, even uncomfortable perspectives on the history of the Bauhaus. For long after 1945, the illusion of an only "good" and persecuted modernity persisted. An innovative artistic attitude alone, as the fates of many Bauhaus members show, does not protect against the seduction of fascism. This makes the role of art in a liberal and cosmopolitan society is a central theme of the exhibition.