International Modernism: CIAM IV (1933)Bauhaus aboard

Divine weather, a sleek steamship and a relaxed public who had apparently managed on a cruise to join work and leisure in perfect reconciliation: The pictures of the Fourth CIAM-Convention on board the French ship Patris II reveal an incredibly casual, almost perfect setting between a Mediterranean sun and tangy sea breezes. Yet, the picture darkens right away as soon as a person grasps the historical context. The Convention in the summer of 1933 began exactly two weeks after the National Socialists closed down the Bauhaus in Berlin.

From Bauhaus to concentration camp

Almost from the start the Bauhauslers were caught in the crossfire between reactionary forces of all kinds. Many of them were open to socialistic ideas, communicated as artists using a design vocabulary that was soon to be characterised as ‘degenerate’, or were simply of Jewish descent. This may explain why many of them fell victim to the megalomania of the National Socialists, or survived only on the fringes of society after 1933. Among many others, these included Otti Berger, Friedl Dicker and Franz Ehrlich. On the occasion of the anniversary of Otti Berger’s death 73 years ago today on 27 April 1944, we wish to commemorate her with this brief history of her life and work.

Bauhaus at a glanceWhat exactly was the Bauhaus?

During its almost fourteen years of existence, the Bauhaus revolutionised creative and artistic thinking and work worldwide. The distinguished teachers who worked here included Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer, to name but a few. The following presents an overview of the most important developments. Detailed knowledge on the Bauhaus is available in the sections “phases”, “leaders” and “works”.