The workshops for stone and wood sculpture directed by Johannes Itten and Oskar Schlemmer at the Weimar State Bauhaus initially emphasised a supply function for the remaining workshops that did not include the production of free art. It primarily produced architectural models and plaster models for Walter Gropius' architectural office, the ceramics and metal workshop. They were merged into a plastic arts workshop in Dessau under the direction of Joost Schmidt.

Workshop for Stone Sculpture, photo: unknown, 1923. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin.
Workshop for Stone Sculpture, photo: unknown, 1923. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin.

According to the academic tradition, there were two sculpture workshops at the Weimar State Bauhaus – one for stone and one for wood. Beyond the production of free art, these workshops – which were essentially directed by Johannes Itten and Oskar Schlemmer – primarily supplied models for the rest of the workshops such as architectural models for the architectural office of Walter Gropius, plaster models for the ceramics workshop, chandeliers, masks and sculptures.

Bauhaus Chess Set (Model XVI), author: Josef Hartwig, 1924. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.
Bauhaus Chess Set (Model XVI), author: Josef Hartwig, 1924. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.

The wood sculpture workshop received its largest commission in 1920–1921 with the execution of the carving work for the House Sommerfeld, a house designed completely with wood. The designs for the doors, stair cladding and mural reliefs by the apprentice Joost Schmidt were outstanding. The stone sculpture workshop participated in the ‘Monument to the March Dead’ from 1921–1922 according to the plans of Walter Gropius and in the furnishing of the school and workshop buildings for the Bauhaus Exhibition of 1923.

 

Monument to the March Dead, author: Walter Gropius, Weimar 1921. Klassik Stiftung Weimar / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.
Monument to the March Dead, author: Walter Gropius, Weimar 1921. Klassik Stiftung Weimar / © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.

The workshops were no longer included after Dessau. Instead, a plastic arts workshop was established under the direction of junior master Joost Schmidt. With his ‘instruction in elemental sculpture,’ Schmidt concentrated on the art pedagogical communication of the spatial. The activities in this workshop were translated into practical terms by building models, designing exhibitions and producing creations for the stage. Schmidt presented trend-setting exhibition designs with the stands at Berlin’s ‘Gas and Water Exhibition’ of 1929 and the ‘International Hygiene Exhibition’ in Dresden in 1930.