Object Lessons: The Bauhaus and Harvard

March 9, 2021
Index Magazine

Object Lessons: The Bauhaus and Harvard

Detail of the front cover of Object Lessons: The Bauhaus and Harvard, showing a portion of British photographer Lucia Moholy’s Bauhaus Masters’ Housing, Dessau (Lucia Moholy and László Moholy-Nagy’s Living Room), 1927–28. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

Hear from Laura Muir, editor of Object Lessons: The Bauhaus and Harvard and curator of the 2019 exhibition The Bauhaus and Harvard, with a special preview in advance of the book’s launch in May 2021. Filled with beautiful illustrations—some of never-before-published objects—this book yields fascinating insights for Bauhaus devotees and design aficionados. 

Founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius (1883–1969), the Bauhaus was the 20th century’s most influential school of art, architecture, and design. After the school was shuttered under pressure from the Nazis in 1933, many Bauhaus artists brought their innovative practices and teaching methods to the United States. Gropius himself accepted a position at Harvard, where he would help establish a collection of Bauhaus material that has since grown to more than 32,000 objects—the largest such collection outside Germany. Harvard in turn became an unofficial center for the Bauhaus in the United States.

Object Lessons: The Bauhaus and Harvard expands on the special link between the two institutions while highlighting understudied aspects of the Bauhaus, including art made by women. Containing essays written by established and emerging voices in the field, the book took shape during the run of The Bauhaus and Harvard, a major exhibition and programming initiative presented by the Harvard Art Museums on the occasion of the Bauhaus centennial in 2019. A plate section presents a diverse selection of objects in a range of media. Included at the back of this beautifully designed volume is a full reproduction of the short catalogue produced by the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art for its 1930 exhibition—the first Bauhaus exhibition in the United States!

Object Lessons: The Bauhaus and Harvard is available for pre-order on the Yale University Press website. In the meantime, we invite you to explore the more than 32,000 Bauhaus-related objects in the museums’ online resource The Bauhaus

Led by:
Laura Muir, Associate Director of Academic and Public Programs and Louis Miller Thayer Research Curator

Lynette Roth, Daimler Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum and Head, Division of Modern and Contemporary Art