Under the master of form Lyonel Feininger, the graphic printing workshop of the State Bauhaus Weimar produced significant portfolios of graphic works by the Bauhaus masters. The portfolios were bound in the bookbinding workshop. Since the art printing business did not prove to be a financial success, the printing workshop was not set up at the Bauhaus in Dessau.

View into Otto Dorfner's graphic printing workshop, photo: unknown, around 1920. Private Estate.
View into Otto Dorfner's graphic printing workshop, photo: unknown, around 1920. Private Estate.

The graphic printing workshop began its work in 1919. To this end, it acquired technical equipment from the former School of art in Weimar. Walter Klemm, a graphic designer and teacher at this school, was head of the printing workshop as master of form until he was replaced in 1921 by the painter and Bauhaus master Lyonel Feininger. With the support of Walter Gropius, Feininger promoted the printing of graphic works by students and masters of the Bauhaus.

Bauhaus Prints. New European Graphics, First Issuse: Master of the Weimar State Bauhaus, design: Lyonel Feininger / production: Otto Dorfner, 1921. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.
Bauhaus Prints. New European Graphics, First Issuse: Master of the Weimar State Bauhaus, design: Lyonel Feininger / production: Otto Dorfner, 1921. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.

Significant portfolios of graphic art by the Bauhaus masters were created, including ‘Zwölf Holzschnitte’ by Feininger, the ‘Ypsilon’ series of etchings by Georg Muche, the ‘Small Worlds’ portfolio by Wassily Kandinsky and the ‘Masters' portfolio of the Bauhaus’. The five-part portfolio ‘Neue Europäische Grafik’ with prints by international avant-garde artists was published between 1921 and 1924. The bindings for the portfolios were produced in the bookbinding workshop, which collaborated with the printing workshop. The portfolios did not sell as well as expected for the printing workshop of the Bauhaus, and a graphics printing shop was not set up at the Bauhaus in Dessau.