The Easel

Easel Essay: Bauhaus: A Failed Utopia? Part 1: The Manifesto

The Bauhaus was probably the single most influential modernist art school of the 20th century. To mark the centenary of its founding, Morgan Meis is writing an essay – in three parts – on its history and impact.

“Bauhaus’ founding manifesto [by Walter Gropius] is a document wild with utopian ideals. It is not a utopianism wishing to abolish the past in the name of a glorious future filled with glass and concrete. There is nothing in it that comes anywhere close to the idea that form should follow function, that ornament is an enemy, or that formal simplicity is a goal in and of itself. The biggest question … is whether the movement lost – or found – its way through the course of the 20th century.”