Bauhaus — Art's Radical Revolution

Launch Slideshow

Now famed for producing some of the 20th Century's most prolific and ground-breaking artists and designers, the Bauhaus school was responsible for forging a new aesthetic and innovation in the education of creative thinkers. Under the leadership of Walter Gropius and his visionary manifesto, artists such as Josef Albers, Max Bill and Wassily Kandinsky redefined the parameters of artistic investigation, the legacies of which can be seen in the art, design and architecture of today. This curated sale, the first of its kind for Sotheby's, will offer exceptional works from the movement. Click through to see highlights from the auction.

Bauhaus_Defining a Century
5 & 6 October 2017 | London

Bauhaus — Art's Radical Revolution

  • Wassily Kandinsky, Leise (Quietly), 1928.
    Estimate: £100,000–150,000.
    Kandinsky and the Bauhaus are inseparable. Steeped in the teachings of the school, Leise evokes not only the artist's constructivist beliefs but also his musical nature. Like Klee, Kandinsky never fully embraced constructivism, instead choosing to base his geometric works within the exploration of his own practice. The use of colour and the line reference to musical scores is demonstrative of Kandinsky's musical nature and deep belief that colour and sound are inextricably linked.

  • Xanti Schawinsky, Klassische Architektur II, 1927.
    Estimate: £80,000–120,000.
    After joining the Bauhaus in 1923, Xanti Schawinsky soon became one of the most protean characters at the famed school. The present work is programmatic for Schawinsky's  passionate commitment to the new architecture of the Bauhaus in Dessau. In Klassische Architektur II the motif of a classical column architecture appears in dramatic perspective in the centre of the painting evoking the 18th Century temple fragment of the 'Seven Pillars' in Dessau located on the pass-way from the modernish school building to the Bauhaus 'Meisterhäuser', schoolmasters' residence.

  • Josef Hartwig and Joost Schmidt, Rare Chess Set, model no. XVI, 1924. Estimate: £30,000–40,000.
    This rare chess set was designed by Josef Hartwig during his tenure as head of the wood carving and sculpture department at the Bauhaus. Hartwig took the traditional chess set and pushed it into the realm of abstraction whilst retaining the intuitiveness of the game: "…singly or combined, their shape specifies their movement; their volume, their worth."

  • Josef Albers, Study for Homage to the Square: Coniferous, 1958. Estimate: £280,000–350,000.
    A captivating example of Josef Albers' methodological yet highly intuitive approach to painting, Study for Homage to the Square: Coniferous forms part of the artist's most iconic series created between 1950 until his death in 1976. Out of the Homage to the Square paintings, the present work in particular stands out with its impressive provenance and exhibition history: previously owned by Jay R. Braus, an astute art collector whose esteemed collection was displayed in an exhibition at the Berkshire Museum in 2011, Study for Homage to the Square: Coniferous was subsequently gifted to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1977 and remained in its collection for over 35 years. Prior to entering one of the world's most prestigious museum collections, the work was included in an extensive travelling exhibition over a three-year period throughout the US and South America.

  • © Bridgeman Images
    The Bauhaus building in Dessau designed by Walter Gropius.
    The sale includes several copies of the Bauhaus magazine Vierteljahr-Zeitschrift für Gestaltung , as well as a copy of Walter Gropius' Bauhaus manifesto

  • Horst Ziegenfusz
    Kurt Schwitters, Das Bild der guten Hoffnung (The Picture of Good Hope), 1940. Estimate: £300,000-500,000.
    'Merz' painting dominated Schwitters' artisitic career. Continually returning to the use of found objects, Schwitters strived to re-appropriate common materials into art. Working alongside his artistic contemporaries at the Bauhaus he was able to develop a unique approach to collage and relief. The use of figuration in the present work is a seemingly unique motif employed prior to the artist's exile to Britain in 1940.

  • Paul Klee, Haus am Hügel (House on the Hill), 1935.
    Estimate: £200,000–300,000.
    Klee's exploration of colour theory and his naïve childlike perspective were paramount throughout his career. Inspired by the work of his Bauhaus colleague Wassily Kandinsky, Klee constructed surreal landscapes imbued with his own vision of the world. The use of the house within the lyrical composition evokes Klee's tenure at the Bauhaus, whilst still retaining his unique artistic style.

  • Max Bill, Durchdringung von Farbbündeln, 1970.
    Estimate: £100,000–150,000.
    "Art plainly calls for both feeling and reasoning… It is mankind's ability to reason which makes it possible to coordinate emotional values in such a way that what we call art ensues. Now in every picture the basis of its composition is geometry or in other words the means of determining the mutual relationship of its component parts either on plane or in space" (Max Bill, The Mathematical Approach in Contemporary Art, Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz, Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings, Berkeley 2012, pp. 92-93).

  • László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled (Dessau), 1925-1926.
    Estimate: £250,000–350,000.
    Moholy-Nagy was a prominent teacher and author at the Bauhaus who devoted his career to the relationship of light to material, space, and time, with the aim of extending the boundaries of natural perception. After being asked to join the Bauhaus by Walter Gropius, he became the prodigy of Johannes Itten as Head of the Metal Workshop and co-taught the preliminary course together with Josef Albers. Moholy-Nagy played a crucial role in bringing the school closer to its original aim of integrating design and industrialisation. It was during his time in Weimar that Moholy-Nagy developed the photogram as a medium of artistic expression by controlling artificial sources of light and darkroom photographic paper

  • © Bridgeman Images
    Group photo on the roof of the Bauhaus in Weimar, circa 1920, from left to right: Josef Albers, Hinnerk Scheper, Georg Muche, László Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Gunta Stozl and Oskar Schlemmer.
    RAR1064907 L'equipe du Bauhaus, c.1920 (b/w photo) by German Photographer, (20th century); Private Collection; ( L-R : Josef Albers, Hinnerk Scheper, Georg Muche, Laslo Moholy Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Gunta Stozl et Oskar Schlemmer on the roof of the Bauhaus in Weimar c. 1920 ); FRENCH RIGHTS NOT AVAILABLE; German, it is possible that some works by this artist may be protected by third party rights in some territories

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