Paths from the Bauhaus: Gerhard Marcks and his Circle of Friends

Prologue exhibition Weimar

photo: Arnold Newman, 1950 / Arnold Newman Collection, Getty Images
German sculptor Gerhard Marcks (1889 - 1981) poses for a portrait in his studio, New York, photo: Arnold Newman, 1950 / Arnold Newman Collection, Getty Images

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The sculptor Gerhard Marcks (1889–1981) was not only one of the first instructors at the newly founded Bauhaus, but also one of the few artists who advocated the original idea of renewing the arts through craft. Starting in 1919, a group of likeminded comrades-in-arms established itself at the Bauhaus, which would convey this approach far beyond the borders of Europe via schools, communities and circles of friends. This exhibition is the first ever to examine this extraordinary group of artists and to open up a new way of looking at the Bauhaus outside of industry and standardisation.

Marcks and his students, such as the ceramics artist Marguerite Friedländer-Wildenhain (1896–1985), the silversmith Wolfgang Tümpel (1903–1978) and the painter Johannes Driesch (1901–1930), shared a common characteristic, namely their adherence to the principles of craftsmanship. As over 200 exhibits including sculptures, drawings, paintings and ceramics of the highest order demonstrate, for all involved, this approach played a key role in establishing their artistic self-image.

The exhibition sketches a broad arc from Weimar where the Bauhauslers met and the time they spent at the Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein in Halle (Saale), to California, where the artist Marguerite Friedlaender-Wildenhain, who had fled the National Socialist regime, founded Pond Farm, a school of art and pottery workshop. A wealth of correspondence, documentary photographs and film and an interactive media station shed light on the artistic transfer of ideas within the circle of friends well into the 20th century.

“Paths from Bauhaus. Gerhard Marcks and his Circle of Friends” is a joint project by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus in Bremen and the DFG project “Moving Networks. Bauhaus Members and Their Networks of Relationships in the 1930s and 1940s” at the TU Cottbus-Senftenberg in Brandenburg and the University of Erfurt. It is sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Free State of Thuringia, the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, and the Circle of Friends of the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus.

The event is part of the Weimar Summer 2017.

“Paths from the Bauhaus” Gerhard Marcks and his Circle of Friends
17 August – 5 November 2017
Neues Museum Weimar

T 0 36 43 / 545 – 400

Lectures followed by exhibition tour

“Christianity cannot be overlooked”

Points of reference to the Christian tradition in the case of Gerhard Marcks, Johannes Driesch, Wolfgang Tümpel and Theodor Bogler. With speaker Anke Blümm of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar.


“Thinking does not lead to art”

Gerhard Marcks and his network. With speaker Arie Hartog of the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus in Bremen.


“Lydia Driesch-Foucar – Survival thanks to sculpted gingerbread”

With speaker Magdalena Droste of the TU Cottbus-Senftenberg in Brandenburg.

Design laboratory

Discover design and experimentation for yourself! Proceeding from the exhibition objects, visitors will be able to design their own pots, cups and vases in the Design Laboratory. The Design Laboratory in Weimar is part of the Bauhaus Agents programme – an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar / bauhaus museum weimar, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin.


Discussion tours with experts

“Sculpture today – positions”

Accompany artists, art historians and artisans on three topical guided tours of the exhibition in the Neues Museum Weimar. Liz Bachhuber, freelance artist and Professor of Fine Art at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and Walter Sachs, a sculptor, painter and graphic designer from Weimar reflect on the works of the Bauhaus artists from a contemporary perspective.


“How modern can craft be?”

The early Bauhaus in Weimar is representative of a concept of (arts and) craft caught between tradition and modernity, which was in many respects controversial. The extent to which this controversy shapes especially the current debates concerning craft is traced by Regina Bittner, Associate Director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and curator of the exhibition “Craft Becomes Modern. The Bauhaus in the Making”, and Wolfgang Holler, General Director of Museums at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar.


“Art and craft: a new unity?”

Constanze Unger, freelance artist and Director of the Academy of Design and Crafts Münster, and Laura Straßer, a product designer specialising in porcelain and ceramic design, elucidate in the exhibition how they teach and practice this unity in a wide variety of ways.

The lectures and discussion tours are in german language.

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