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A tea glass holder with a metal and wood band and clear class beaker.

The short, wide receptacle for a beverage is of clear glass. A band of silver metal with ebony discs on opposite sides wraps three-quarters around the top of the glass. One ebony disc is set vertically, the other horizontally.

Gallery Text

Bauhaus artists and designers sought to revolutionize society by radically reshaping the environments in which people lived. The objects in this case, products of the school’s metal, pottery, and carpentry workshops, reflect innovative approaches to the design of everyday household items—from the minimalist rethinking of the ornate tea glasses of eastern Europe to the transformation of chess pieces into pure geometric form. The design of decorative art objects at the Bauhaus was as strongly informed by modern artistic theories as the paintings and sculpture produced there. The table lamp, for example, made in the metal workshop when the constructivist artist László Moholy-Nagy served as its director, explores the circular form in three dimensions: as a disk, cylinder, and sphere. Now considered an icon of Bauhaus design, in 1924 the lamp failed to achieve the Bauhaus goal of creating objects well suited for industrial production, due to its high fabrication cost. Relatively few Bauhaus objects were mass-produced, in fact, despite the school’s efforts to establish partnerships with industry. The objects’ extreme modernity and frequently high prices made them less appealing to the general public and relatively uncommon outside the homes of artists and intellectuals and the Bauhaus buildings.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Josef Albers, American (Bottrop, Germany 1888 - 1976 New Haven, Conn.)
Tea Glass Holder
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 1, Room 1520, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Germany Between the Wars
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Physical Descriptions

Chrome-plated steel and ebony
13.34 cm (5 1/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF analysis showed that the metal band on both holders (BR49.258 and .259) had high levels of chromium, iron and nickel, corresponding to chrome-plated steel. Chrome plating of steel is a two phase process with the clean steel first electroplated with nickel and then subsequently plated with chromium, hence both nickel and chromium are present. Kathy Eremin, January 2013

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Walter Gropius
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Exhibition History

Subjects and Contexts

  • The Bauhaus

Verification Level

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