Some of the 20th century’s greatest visual minds came out of the Bauhaus, a daring, experimental art school founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany. There were its three architect-directors, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, and Hannes Meyer; painters Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee; and artist-educators like Josef Albers. Many of these were as astute writers and theorists as they were artists, but some of their most important texts have, in the last century, gone out of print or become otherwise difficult to track down.
Bibliotheque Kandinsky, in France, has recently digitized a series of seminal art books by Bauhaus artists and thinkers, making high-quality digital scans of some rare manuscripts freely available to the public. Among them are Internationale Arkitektur, edited by Walter Gropius in 1925, with typography by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (another Bauhaus artist) and photographs of works by Le Corbusier, Adolf Loos, Frank Lloyd Wright, and more.
There’s Paul Klee’s Pädagogisches Skizzenbuch (Pedagogical Sketchbook), written in 1923 as a teaching tool for his students at the Bauhaus, in which he details his concepts of making art. The Observer called it a “little handbook [that] leads us into the mysterious world where science and imagination fuse.” Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s Malerei, Fotografie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film) presents the photographer’s experiments with Rayographs (made without a camera), strange X-rays, and super-wide-angle fisheye pictures, as well as his thoughts on the interplay between type, audio, and visual perception.
The digital collection is a goldmine for art history nerds, and offers unprecedented access to the thinking and writing that helped shape the contemporary art and design world.
Download the PDFs here.