Alfred Arndt discovered the Bauhaus in Weimar quite accidentally, as a member of the popular German youth movement the Wandervogel. After his first conversation with Walter Gropius, it was clear to him that he would stay here. First as a student and later as director of the building and interior design department, Arndt worked at the Bauhaus until 1932.
After studying draughtsmanship at a large machine factory in Elbing, East Prussia, Alfred Arndt was conscripted in WW I and worked as a foreman in Gdansk in 1916. From 1919 to 1920, he attended the trade school in Elbing and studied at the art academy in Königsberg (today’s Kaliningrad; life drawing class) until 1921. At the same time, he had lessons with the Königsberg painter Robert Budzinski. In the summer of 1921, Arndt joined the Wandervogel, a German nature-oriented youth movement.
He studied at the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar and at the Bauhaus Dessau from 1921 to 1927. In 1921 in Weimar, he enrolled in the preliminary course taught by Johannes Itten and took classes by Paul Klee, Dora Wibiral and Dorothea Seeligmüller. From 1922 to 1924–1925, he studied in the wall painting department under Wassily Kandinsky. On 17th April 1924, he passed the journeyman’s examination at the Chamber of Crafts in Weimar. From 1925 to 1926 at the Bauhaus Dessau, he studied in the wall painting department under Hinnerk Scheper. From 1926–1927 to 1927–1928, he attended the carpentry workshop taught by Marcel Breuer. In 1927, Arndt married the Bauhaus student Gertrud Hantschk. Arndt passed the master’s examination in 1928 and left the Bauhaus on 31st May 1928. He subsequently worked as a freelance architect in Probstzella, Thuringia.
He returned to the Bauhaus Dessau in 1929 under the directorship of Hannes Meyer. In 1930, he was appointed by Hannes Meyer as the director of the interior design department, which integrated the carpentry, metal and wall painting workshops. From 1930 to 1931, he was the director of the integrated building and interior design departments. From 1931 to 1932, he taught interior design, illustrative geometry and perspective. In 1931, his daughter Alexandra was born.
Arndt left the Bauhaus in 1932 and returned to Probstzella with his family. He worked here as an advertising graphic designer and architect. In 1937, his son Hugo was born. A short time later, Arndt began to work in industrial construction in South Thuringia and Upper Franconia. In 1927, he was commissioned by Franz Itting to design and furnish the Haus des Volkes (house of the people) in Probstzella. In order to help Itting, the pioneer of Thuringian social democracy, Arndt joined the NSDAP in 1937. He was appointed head of propaganda for Probstzella. Until 1945, he worked as an architect for industrial companies in Thuringia. From 1936 to 1940, the former Bauhaus member Conrad Paschal was his colleague.
For the next two years, Arndt was employed in Jena as a government building and planning officer. During this period, he worked with Wassili Luckhardt, Georg Neidenberger and Joost Schmidt to re-establish the Bauhaus in Weimar. In 1948, Arndt and his family moved to Darmstadt where he continued his activities as an industrial architect and participated in the development of the Bauhaus Archive.
Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin (1999): In der Vollendung liegt die Schönheit. Der Bauhaus-Meister Alfred Arndt, Berlin.
Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin (2003): Bauhaus-Möbel. Eine Legende wird besichtigt, Berlin.
Kolyschkow, Alexej (2004): Alfred Arndt, ein Farbgestalter des Bauhauses, und seine Leistungen im „Haus des Volkes” Probstzella, in: Thesis, No. 2.